May 21, 2020
Medical City Las Colinas has successfully transfused donated blood plasma from a fully recovered COVID-19 patient into critically ill patients. Three patients from a single donor have recovered and been discharged.
The clinical transfusion took place as part of a national study to determine if plasma from convalescent, or recovered, COVID-19 patients may benefit individuals currently hospitalized with severe or life-threatening cases of the virus.
Jason Ulloa had just returned to his home after a trip to New Jersey in early March when he started running a fever and feeling nauseous. When he also began feeling body aches and difficulty breathing, he drove from his home in Garland to the emergency room at Medical City Las Colinas, a hospital he had previously visited and trusted.
"I've never been sick like that in my life," he says. "It was like a cold but magnified 20 times. I felt like I had been run over by a truck."
After being immediately masked and isolated from other patients, Ulloa tested positive for COVID-19. He spent five days in the hospital. After recovering at home for 14 days, he was contacted by Medical City Las Colinas and became the first at the facility to donate his plasma as part of the study.
Convalescent plasma is derived from the donated blood of patients that have recovered from COVID19, and may contain antibodies to help the immune system more effectively fight the virus. One convalescent plasma donation can be used for several patients.
"Medical City Las Colinas is proud to be among the more than 170 hospitals from across the HCA Healthcare network to contribute to this important study to identify potential therapies for COVID-19 patients," says Steven Davis, MD, the clinical trial's principal investigator at Medical City Las Colinas. "It is our hope to help add to the clinical research that leads to successful treatment of COVID-19 and save more lives."
"God gave me the opportunity to help others in any way I can," Ulloa says of being a plasma donor, which he described as an easy process. "If I can help someone continue living, I'm all in."
Four patients were given Ulloa's plasma and to date, three have been discharged.
To find out more about the donation process, eligibility and locations to donate in North Texas, patients can call a dedicated COVID-19 Plasma Phone Line at (833) 582-1971 or visit HCA Healthcare's plasma donation website.