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HMC discharges COVID-19 patient to recover at home

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Bob Kovacs of Flemington, N.J., considers himself lucky. Three months ago, he had just completed a Polar Bear Plunge and was exercising four times a week, and on April 4 that all changed.

Kovacs is the administrator at Hunterdon Care Center and had been working 29 days straight to help manage care for his residents. On Sunday, March 29, he took a much needed day off and by that Wednesday he had to be rushed to Hunterdon Medical Center by ambulance. Kovacs was having difficulty breathing and a high fever and tested positive for COVID-19. Not long after Kovacs was admitted to Hunterdon Medical Center, his wife, Diane, of 37 years was diagnosed with COVID-19 and had to recover at home by herself. “She is a strong woman and was my beacon,” stated Kovacs.

“I don’t remember anything from the first two weeks in the hospital. I was on heavy oxygen and close to being placed on a ventilator,” he said. “At about midnight on Thursday, April 30, I received a gift, a convalescent plasma donation from another COVID-19 patient. Right after receiving the infusion, I felt a burst of energy and stood up. The next day, I got dressed myself and felt so much better.”

Convalescent Plasma has been shown to help people sickened by COVID-19. People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have recovered from the virus can help save a life by donating convalescent plasma.

“Today, May 5 is my 30th day in the hospital and I am going home. I can’t thank the team of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and all the staff for the exceptional care I received. I will never forget how they made me feel and will forever be grateful to them,” stated Kovacs.

Kovacs was discharged to rest at home. He promised he will pay the donation he received of convalescent plasma forward and donate when he is able.
To be a convalescent plasma donor a participant must meet the following criteria:
● You must be free of symptoms due to COVID-19 for at least 28 days.
● You must be in good health and eligible to be a volunteer community blood donor.
● You must be able to show that you were diagnosed with COVID-19. This can be done by having your doctor complete the Attestation Form available via this link: https://www.giveapint.org/covid-plasma-form/
● If you have had a pregnancy, tissue transplant or transfusion you must be negative for HLA antibodies. If your HLA antibody status is unknown the blood center can test you.
 
If you are interested in being a donor and meet the donor criteria listed above, contact the Miller-Keystone Blood Bank at (610) 691-5850 x1279, and tell them that you are interested in helping Hunterdon Medical Center patients with COVID-19 by making a convalescent plasma donation.

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