Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth are offering an experimental plasma transfer to severely ill COVID-19 patients. Physicians are experimenting with this potentially life-saving measure because in some cases they are running out of options.
This plasma transfer approach in some instances turned out to be a life saving measure during the Ebola outbreak. Now with a pandemic spreading, doctors here are trying it again as a last resort.
Recovering Patient Donates
Dr. John Burk, a pulmonologist for Texas Health Fort Worth, reports that in one case a donor who was tested positive and succumbed to the illness thereafter tested negative. This individual become a donor. The man donates his blood plasma to a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator and in critical condition at the hospital, reports Fox 5.
Not a Sure Thing
Dr. Burke explained to the local news outlet that the hope is that such an experimental plasma transfer can help boost the patient’s immunity to help them recover from a frightening—and potentially deadly—virus. Dr. Burke noted, “There is no measurement to say this works. Its rather, how he clinically improved in the days ahead.” The physicians and medical staff on call monitor key indicators such as if the fever broke, improved x-ray, and no support for breathing required.
Need for More Donors
As the number of COIV-19 cases increase, so does the need for donors. Dr. Burk hopes other qualified donors step up to contribute to others.
Requires FDA Approval
The decision to allow a plasma transfer occurs on a case-by-case basis. First, the attending physician must make a recommendation for the procedure. Thereafter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must be consulted along with an institutional review board for their greenlight.
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital
Part of Texas Health Resources, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth has a longstanding history of providing advanced medical care. Serving North Texas as a designated Emergency Center of Excellence by Emergency Excellence, the hospital has also been awarded the highest advanced certification by the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and is the first hospital in the country to earn the prestigious designation as a Joint Commission Primary Heart Attack Center. According to its website, it is the second hospital in the nation to earn the Gold Seal of Approval for Brain Tumor Certification by the Joint Commission.
Dr. John Burk is at the forefront of using these experimental plasma transfers in the clinic when few options remain.