UConn Health nurse, former COVID patient says convalescent plasma saved her life

Coronavirus

FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Those seriously ill with COVID-19 are treated in hospitals.

Maria spent a week at home battling coronavirus.

“I did not want to go to the hospital,” Maria said. Maria spent a week at home before her condition got worse. “Breathing was difficult. Painful and short of breath. I felt like I was suffocating.”

She was treated with convalescent plasma, which was donated by a recovered COVID patient, at UConn Health.

It is among multiple site participating in a nationwide Mayo Clinic convalescent plasma study.

“When we are giving it to patients, to our sick but not critically ill, we’ve seen really pretty dramatic results,” said co-investigator Dr. Lisa Chirch. “To the extent that some people are being discharged, getting better so quickly that they are discharged very quickly after getting the plasma.”

But it’s not a controlled study — meaning everyone got the plasma. So, there is no scientific evidence that it works.

“It will give us an idea of how well this is working but it is not definitive,” Dr. Chirch explained.

Maria was discharged four days after getting admitted.

“I was not getting better, and I didn’t get anything else but plasma,” she said. “I didn’t take any other medication, so what is it then, if not that?”

Thankful for the donation, Maria now wants to be a donor.

“The first thought that I had, the second I’m going to get completely better and I can, I will donate my blood as well.”

Dr. Chirch pointed out that it is a large study and results could take months to be released.

She stressed that donors are still needed through the American Red Cross — mostly because she saidCOVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Maria, who is a nurse, is back at work at UConn Health.

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