Family makes plasma donation plea for Naples mother in ICU fighting COVID-19

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One Southwest Florida family is searching for a blood plasma donor to help their mother’s chance of survival in fighting COVID-19.

Jeff Bennett and his sister Jennifer Grytza are on edge. For more than three weeks, their mother, Virginia, has been on a ventilator at an NCH hospital fighting for her life.

“She got to the hospital around 5 p.m.” Bennett said. “By 10 p.m. she was admitted to the hospital on oxygen. By 5 a.m. she was in the ICU and by 10 a.m. the next morning she was on a ventilator.”

TO DONATE: NCH Community Blood Center

Grytza explained that she had no other pre-existing conditions, “That’s why I was so surprised that it hit her so hard.”

Last week the siblings say they received a call that the hospital wanted to give her some convalescent plasma. That’s blood plasma collected from a recovered COVID-19 patient.

Both NCH and Lee Health are taking part in a clinical trial. The problem? NCH doesn’t have a match right now.

So Bennett and Grytza turned to Facebook.

He said, “We’re trying to specifically find somebody that’s what Type A or AB to actually do a target a donation for mother, and that has to be somewhere here in the Naples area.”

They found four matches, however, none in Naples. NCH says the sickest people would get donations first.

If a potential donor wants to give to a specific patient, they first would have to be a match and the blood plasma would have to pass all the safety tests which take another 24-48 hours.

Bennett and Grytza want to encourage more people to donate.

“Anybody who has the antibodies in their bloodstream now, no matter what blood type they are, no matter where you are in the country, you should go and try to donate somewhere, somehow, right now,” Bennett encouraged.

It’s a donation that could save a life.

NCH tells us they transfused one patient late last week.

They just lined up two more units, and so two more people on the list will receive a transfusion soon.

There no word whether Virginia is one of the two.

For information about the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma program and criteria to become a potential donor, visit the NCH Community Blood Center’s website.


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