GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)–Doctors across the country continue to look for ways to treat COVID-19 patients. One way that has come to light is by using the anti-bodies in plasma from someone previously infected. Now, the first South Carolina patient to receive a plasma transplant says it saved her life.
It was Good Friday when Lisa Hardin tested positive for COVID-19.
“By that evening I could not catch my breath I was just so short of breath. I tried everything I could think of,” Hardin said.
Just a few hours later she was being admitted to Prisma’s Richland Hospital.
“It hurt so bad that tears would drip from my eyes with every deep breath,” Hardin said.
She didn’t qualify for clinical studies, but doctors were able to find her something else.
“I call it liquid gold, and its actually called plasma. That actually saved my life,” she said.
Her doctors, along with the Blood Connection in Greenville, were able to find a match.
“We knew that with normal viruses when you get infected about two weeks later you’re starting to make a good amount of antibodies,” said Dr. Robert Rainer with the Blood Connection.
“The response to the convalescent plasma has been astonishing,” Dr. Helmut Albrecht, infectious disease specialist with Prisma Health, said.
Someone in Chattanooga, Tennessee had donated their plasma and it was quickly en route to Hardin, and not a moment too soon.
“That day, I felt in my heart that I was giving out. I really did I thought I just can’t keep fighting to get the air in,” Hardin said.
The treatment began and Hardin started to recover.
“I wasn’t having to do the fighting something else was and I just felt better and better and better,” Hardin said.
Hardin is the first in South Carolina to receive plasma, but won’t be the last.
“Ms. Hardin was not our guinea pig in this, she was our pioneer in this,” Dr. Albrecht said.
But those battling COVID-19 need the help of those who are now recovered.
“There are only about 500 people here in the upstate that can qualify to do this,” said Dr. Rainer.
“We’re trying to have everybody understand that we will have to pay this forward,” Dr. Albrecht said.
It’s why Hardin shared her story, and why she says she owes her life to her donor.
“I didn’t know who it was I was thanking god for them and I would just say thank you for saving my life,” Hardin said.
If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and want to donate plasma you can reach out to the Blood Connection to do so.
Doctors say about 20 people in total have received plasma donations in South Carolina.