Convalescent plasma drive
Madison Valley Medical Center
Madison Valley Medical Center was the first hospital in the state to do a convalescent plasma drive Sept. 12. It may be the second in the state too, with its second convalescent plasma drive Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hospitals are using convalescent plasma to treat critical COVID-19 patients in trials across the country. When a hospital in Billings started using the treatment on its critical COVID-19 patients, MVMC nurse Angela Visintin jumped to the opportunity to help provide convalescent plasma.
Visintin formerly worked in the respiratory intensive care unit at a Salt Lake City hospital. According to Visintin, the SLC hospital’s first trial using convalescent plasma was on a 22-year-old COVID-19 patient on a ventilator. Visintin said the patient walked out of the hospital 15 days after the treatment.
Vitalant, a nonprofit blood donor organization, specifically works with Montana hospitals. It is a reason Visintin chose to use them.
“One thing that I feel is important and studies show is that treatment is more beneficial when it is close to the same strains,” Visintin said.
Convalescent plasma is donated from previously infected COIVD-19 cases. The COVID-19 antibodies present in the convalescent plasma helps the patients it is transfused into fight off the virus. The 8 MVMC donors from Sept. 12 donated over 5,000 milliliters of convalescent plasma, which can help about 27 patients, according to MVMC.
“COVID-rich antibodies transfused into another patient who is in critical condition kicks start the immune process and helps kick the virus,” Visintin said.
Potential donors have to have a positive COVID-19 test and be recovered for at least 28 days. Interested donors call MVMC to make an appointment.