Orlando father of 3 receives COVID-19 convalescent plasma treatment

An Orlando father of three is being closely monitored at Orlando Health.  Doctors there are hoping that their first patient to be treated with convalescent plasma, or plasma taken from recovered coronavirus patients, will see improvements. 

“Saturday afternoon, I got a call they said we want to put him on a ventilator and they’re going to have to put him in a coma to do that. I didn’t even get to talk to him,” Stacie Rathel told FOX 35 News. 

Her husband, 52-yaer-old Kevin Rathal, is battling COVID-19, fighting for his life.  She says she also tested positive but has been symptom free for a week.  She and her children are shocked. 

“My husband had had no previous health conditions,” Stacie said.

She says doctors administered several different antibiotics to her husband, including hydrocholorquine.  Nothing helped.  Stacie begged doctors to try convalescent plasma.  It has to come from a patient who has survived coronavirus, been better for 14 days, now tests negative, and has a compatible blood type.

Enter Facebook.  The donor is a complete stranger, James Crocker.  Crocker who had just recovered from COVID-19 had gotten into a friendly disagreement with a friend on Facebook over the government’s response to the pandemic.  Crocker’s friend said he didn’t have time to continue the debate. 

“He was looking for a needle in a haystack. His friend’s only real hope was a plasma transplant,” Crocker said. “Call me, I’m your needle in that haystack. I felt like God was in it from the very beginning and I was in my car within an hour and a half.”

That night, James drove up from Stuart. He got swabbed.  The test came back negative.  Wednesday morning, as soon as One Blood opened, he was there giving his plasma. Mike received it that night.  Now, it’s a case of wait-and-see. 

“We are waiting for our Easter miracle,” Stacie said.  "Today is Good Friday. Today is the day that was the darkest day in our Savior’s life and Sunday’s coming. I’m still holding onto hope that miracle could be just around the corner,” James said.

Doctors administering the treatment released a statement to FOX 35 News saying that they should know within the next 2-3 days if the treatment is working.  They also said that his condition is not worsening, which is a positive sign.   

One Blood is collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma from eligible donors.