“Our experience at St. Mary’s was great. My son was very happy with his care, which is saying a lot considering he’s an RRT. He was thankful for the care he received.”
Teaming up with former COVID-19 patients
St. Mary, LifeStream team up with former COVID-19 patients to fight virus
St. Mary Medical Center announced the opening of the only plasma screening program in the High Desert on Wednesday, a move that could help in the fight against the coronavirus, according to a statement.
The center will be accepting blood donations to gather plasma from former COVID-19 patients, to assist those currently critically ill with the virus.
“Researchers across the globe are quickly looking for viable care options to kill this novel virus and we are proud to be a part of this promising process,” St. Mary’s Chief Executive Randall Castillo said in the statement. “Eventually, we will beat this pandemic through innovative treatment and continued social responsibility.”
Blood plasma from former COVID-19 patients has antibodies which can be used to help patients still battling the disease. This is an experimental treatment and is reserved primarily for the sickest patients who have exhausted other medical options.
“Historically,” the statement said, “plasma from those who have recovered from infection has been used as a potentially lifesaving treatment when new diseases or infections develop quickly, and no treatments or vaccines were available.”
St. Mary’s screening program is aligned with a study led by the Mayo Clinic and titled “Expanded Access to Convalescent Plasma for the Treatment of Patients with COVID-19.”
The statement said the Apple Valley hospital will refer those who qualify as donors to LifeStream Blood Bank, which will extract the plasma. LifeStream will return up to half the plasma from first-time donors to the hospital for treatment of COVID-19 patients who meet the study criteria. The remainder of the plasma will be available to area hospitals in need.
“Though convalescent plasma has not been fully proven to be effective in patients with COVID-19, there are encouraging signs from early studies,” Dr. Joe Chaffin, LifeStream’s chief medical officer said in the statement. “By collecting this product, LifeStream is proud to help hospitals develop better understanding of the use of convalescent plasma for patients in desperate need.”
LifeStream’s San Bernardino Donor Center is expected to have its first donor on Friday.
Donors are eligible if:
- There is documented evidence they have been infected with COVID-19.
- They have been symptom free at least four weeks or symptom free at least two weeks and subsequently test negative for the virus.
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