Plasma supply running low for COVID-19 patients in SWFL

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

A COVID-19 survivor is pleading with you to donate your plasma if you’ve had the coronavirus. Lee Health is also asking for the community’s help.

Supplies are running low and it’s becoming difficult to find matches for patients.

“I kept hanging on to hope, even the last couple days, they said, ‘Maybe today will be that day,'” said Connie Ramos-Williams, who says COVID-19 knocked her off her feet.

As more people are being admitted to the hospital with the virus, the need for plasma from recovered patients becomes greater. Lee Health said it needs blood and, in particular, convalescent plasma to help sick patients get home faster.

“COVID is just the strangest virus I’ve ever experienced in my life. Every day there’s new symptoms,” Ramos-Williams said.

She’s home now, but still battling symptoms like a cough and swollen glands – and that’s after spending a week in the hospital.

“Each day in there, it was extremely scary. You didn’t know if you were going to come out the next day. You didn’t know if you were going to take a turn for the worse.”

Doctors gave her remdesivir, steroids, and antibiotics, but they wanted to give her was convalescent plasma.

“Every day I’d ask, ‘How are we doing on that?’ They said, ‘We’re making two calls a day to try to get that plasma for you but so far no luck.’

They couldn’t find a match, an issue that Lee Health Blood Center Supervisor Jeremy Puckett said can be helped by donations.

“We need a lot of people to come out, donate, so we kind of get that inventory built up.”

Especially now that COVID-19 cases are on the rise again.

“We had good numbers there for a while but those units have now gone out the door with those increase in hospitalizations,” Puckett said.

Ramos-Williams is pleading for other survivors to donate and help others who may not have been as lucky.

“Hopefully we can save some lives and help people get back on their feet faster,” she said.

Ramos-Williams plans to try to donate her plasma as soon as she’s well enough.

Lee Health said there are more antibodies in a person who has recently recovered from the coronavirus, but they’ve seen people who have come in months later and had antibodies.

For information on how you can donate, click here.

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