Coronavirus Updates

Doctor donates plasma after recovering from COVID-19


HARTFORD, CT (CNN) – A doctor in Connecticut is trying to help COVID-19 patients after beating the illness herself.

The doctor is hoping to save lives without directly treating a single patient.

That is Dr. Rhonda Klein of Westport hooked up to a machine that is taking plasma out of her blood.

Klein was one of the first people in connecticut to test positive for COVID-19.

In fact, her whole family tested positive, but that was weeks ago.

“Everybody is great,” Klein says. “None of my four children had any symptoms whatsoever.”

She’s gone weeks without symptoms, but her body still has COVID-19 antibodies, so she is now eligible to donate what they call convalescent plasma.

The Red Cross is starting to collect it.

We can give this convalescent plasma to people who are sick and who don’t have the ability to make their own antibodies, or aren’t making enough,” Dr. F. Bernadette West, American Red Cross northeast medical director, says.

It’s one of the only treatments that is working for people who are very sick, and Klein wanted to donate as soon as possible.

“There was a 30 year-old in the ICU in Norwalk that i was trying to donate for,” Klein says. “Unfortunately, he passed away before he was able to receive a plasma donation.”

Just like with blood drives, donation centers are taking lots of precautions to stay safe.

“You enter the facility, your temperature is taken,” Klein says. “They want everybody wearing masks, if possible. There is a lengthy registration process.”

But now that the first wave of patients has recovered, they can now help out all those healthcare heroes looking to save lives.

“We have been very happy to see the outpouring of support in people who have recovered from this illness, who are willing to help us out and help the patients out, more importantly, during this time,” West says.

The Red Cross has more information for potential plasma donors on its website.

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