As hospitalizations hover near record rates, North Texas hospitals are in need of the convalescent plasma that’s proven to help some COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives.
“We are desperate for it,” said public relations specialist for Carter BloodCare Keoni Holoman.
Holoman said Dallas-Fort Worth hospitals need 125 more units of convalescent plasma each day than Carter can provide.
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“The need is four times what it originally was when we originally started the convalescent plasma program,” Holoman said.
Though the number of those eligible to give has grown, she said they worry those who weren’t hospitalized or seriously ill don’t know they’re eligible.
Some may not even know they were positive for the virus.
Megan Michelson said she thought she just had a sinus infection back in March when she noticed sinus pressure and headaches.
She would’ve never been tested for the virus if she hadn’t visited a neurologist for persistent migraines two months later.
Michelson said at that point, she’d read about some COVID-19 patients reporting a loss of smell and taste, which she’d experienced for a few weeks.
That led to an antibody test that showed she’d had the virus.
And after she spoke to a friend, she learned that gave her an opportunity to help.
“For me to have that experience and for other people to be in the hospital or on ventilators, I mean I am just so grateful and so thankful that my experience wasn’t that,” Michelson said.
As cases grow, Holoman said they’re relying on outside resources. Recently, that’s meant shipments from New York.
She’s hopeful stories like Michelson’s can educate and encourage more North Texans to help their own.
Michelson described the experience as relatively painless, similar to giving blood.
She said she plans to give again when eligible, 28 days after her initial donation.
"Just going out of my way a little bit could save someone's life. I don't feel qualified for that, but I'm grateful for the experience,” Michelson said.
To give plasma, donors must be symptom-free for at least 14 days.
If you think you’ve had COVID-19 but aren’t sure, Carter is offering antibody testing for blood donors.