Lee Health needs plasma for COVID-19 patients

Posted at 10:10 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-09 09:41:24-05

CAPE CORAL, FLA — UPDATE (11/9/20)-- FOX 4 has just received some heartbreaking news.

Brad’s wife says Brad has passed away due to complications from Covid.

He wasn’t able to get the plasma when he needed it most (at the start of his diagnosis) because he has a rare blood type, and the blood bank didn’t have any for him.

Donna Williams says a vacation, and time well spent with her husband Brad, is what she's looking forward to these days.

Brad has been battling COVID-19 at Cape Coral Hospital for the last two weeks.

"I had to like drop him off and they took him in and that was the last I had seen of him," she said.

And after being put on a breathing machine and fed through a tube for days, she says he's finally off of the ventilator.

He was even able to talk to Donna on the phone Thursday.

"And the first thing he said was, he wants to come home," Williams said.

Donna says Brad's recovery has been slow, but promising.

And she adds that he could have gotten a plasma transfusion early on in his diagnosis, but he has a rare blood type and at the time, there was no plasma that matched.

The Lee Health Blood Center Supervisor, Jeremy Puckett, says this is a common problem that blood banks and hospitals in the area are facing.

"One of the big hurdles is it has to be transfused within the first 72 hours," he said.

Puckett says the Food and Drug Administration is promoting that 72 hour guideline, because after a while a patient's body will begin building up its own antibodies.

And he's encouraging people to donate, especially those with rare blood types..

"Especially if I'm a 'B' or an 'AB,' those are going to be the hardest ones to find because that's not the majority of the population. Most people walking around are either an 'A' or an 'O,'" he said.

And Donna is encouraging you too.

"If there is anybody out there that has had COVID and has had a positive test and recovered and has been symptom free for 14 days, then please donate," she said.

To learn how you can donate blood or plasma, click here.