SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Hospitals on the Suncoast are treating more COVID patients by the day and their supply of convalescent plasma, from recovered patients, is dwindling.
That plasma is one of the prime treatments doctors are using to treat critical patients so they can get better and get out of the hospital.
Manatee Memorial Hospital confirmed Friday afternoon that they’re all out of convalescent plasma.
“We are totally out of the convalescent plasma, at this time. We have an order into the Suncoast Blood Center,” said the Director of Marketing and Communications for Manatee Memorial Hospital, Betty Chambliss.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital was out earlier this week.
“We got a small supply last night and were able to administer to about 10 more patients,” said the spokeswoman for SMH, Kim Savage.
Suncoast Blood Centers staff say these donations are critical.
In fact, one donor says the reason he’s alive today is because of a convalescent plasma transfusion he received while in intensive care.
“I thought I was going to die,” said recovered COVID patient, Perce Paxton.
Perce Paxton was in the ICU after contracting COVID-19.
“I didn’t realize I was that sick but my wife is the one that insisted I was breathing very, very hard,” said Paxton.
Paxton was at SMH for nearly two weeks fighting for his life.
"They were getting ready to put me on a ventilator because I was getting worse," said Paxton.
Then doctors told him about a trial for convalescent plasma..
“I figured I was going to go anyway, I might as well try it. What do I have to lose?”
Little did he know it would become his saving grace.
“I don’t think I would’ve been here if I wouldn’t have had it,” said Paxton.
Now hospitals need the help of recovered patients as they are in critical need for convalescent plasma to help others like Paxton.
"We're looking at a one percent of all those that tested positive for COVID-19 coming in to donate the convalescent plasma. We would love to see 20-percent of those infected coming in because that's the number that will help us get through this," said Suncoast Blood Center Community Liaison, Joan Leonard
“It turned me around. I figured if it helps anybody else, I’m for it, so here I am,” said Paxton.
On Friday afternoon his convalescent plasma donation was the only one sitting in the freezer waiting to be delivered to area hospitals.
After Paxton, there were also two recovered patients donating convalescent plasma.
If you're unsure if you had the virus and would like to donate, Suncoast blood centers says with a blood donation they will do the antibody test. If the antibody test comes back positive you can go back seven days later to donate convalescent plasma.
You can make an appointment by calling 941-993-8119 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org