Roger Rosenberger donates convalescent plasma at the Madison Valley Medical Center Sept. 12. PHOTO COURTESY MVMC

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.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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