DETROIT – New drugs and treatments for the coronavirus (COVID-19) are being tested in medical centers across the country.
Of particular interest was the use of plasma from people who recovered from COVID-19 to treat critically ill patients.
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Doctor Scott Kaatz, a doctor at Henry Ford Hospital, cared for some of the first patients with coronavirus admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately, he also became one of the first victims himself. He ended up in the intensive care unit under a ventilator. He was enrolled in the convalescent plasma study during his hospital treatment. He was the first to receive it on April 17.
“The scariest part of it all was definitely for my family,” said Kaatz. “I was unconscious, paralyzed, under a fan.”
Before getting on the fan, Kaatz was able to chat with his family via video via Skype.
“We really did have a potential goodbye call,” he said.
So far, 14 coronavirus patients have received convalescent plasma transfusions at Henry Ford. The plasma is donated by health workers who have recovered from the virus.
The patients were all very sick, needing oxygen or a ventilator and now they are fine.
“While we cannot yet say that this convalescent plasma is a cure, we know it certainly does not hurt anyone and there is evidence to suggest that we could be going in the right direction,” said Kaatz.
Kaatz shared that he had another reason to celebrate.
“My father turned on and off Henry Ford’s fan last month, in fact, and he just pulled out about 15 minutes ago,” said Kaatz.
All patients in the study, including Kaatz, also received other treatments, including remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine. It is not yet possible to determine which treatment regimen or treatment may have been most effective.
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