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Magna woman first Utahn to receive plasma from COVID-19 survivor

(KSL TV)



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MURRAY — A Utah woman who was diagnosed with COVID-19 became the first patient in the state to receive plasma from someone who recovered from the virus.

Cynthia Lemus, 24, was placed on a ventilator in the ICU at Intermountain Medical Center earlier this month. She and her husband contracted the virus and followed recommendations of recovering at home.

But Cynthia’s health started to decline a week into the virus.

“She was really struggling and I was like ‘you know what, we got to go to the emergency room,’” said Moises Lemus, Cynthia’s husband.

Within hours, doctors sedated her and put her on a ventilator and a couple of days later started her on ECMO, a machine that acts like an artificial lung, used in extreme cases.

“She had the ventilator and the ECMO machine but she was extremely sick and so the doctors called us said Mayo Clinic is doing a study with plasma. Of course, we said yes,” Lemus said.

Health officials believe antibodies in the plasma of patients who have recovered can attack the virus.

Lemus started the donor plasma therapy on Friday, but doctors still weren’t sure if it is working for her.

“So now it’s just a waiting game to figure out you know is it going to work,” he said. “We are just really hopeful right now that that will help her and get her back to us.”

Lemus pleaded for others who’ve recovered from the virus to donate and help those who are still fighting.

“Why not give them a shot, give them a shot like Cynthia, give them a shot like everybody else because everybody deserves that chance,” he said.

Intermountain Medical Center has set up an email for those who have recovered from COVID-19 and are interested in donating plasma. Contact them at COVID19Plasma@imail.org.

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Ashley Moser

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