ATLANTA — An estimated 900,000 people have recovered from COVID-19, including 100,000 here in the U.S. For some, their recovery has created a new purpose in life.
For Dr. Scott Schubach and teacher David Jamison, that means bettering themselves to better others.
Schubach has been a cardiac-thoracic surgeon at NYU Winthrop Hospital for 29 years. He is back to work after spending eight days in the same hospital as a COVID-19 patient.
“For whatever reason I’m here, it is upon me to become a better person. As a physician, a father, a husband, a friend, a colleague, that is upon me to become better,” Schubach said.
Jamison is a fifth-grade language arts teacher. He said his goal is to shape the next leaders of tomorrow, and help maximize his class’ potential.
“This situation has taught me that we should never, ever take anything for granted,” he said.
Jamison is still having issues sleeping and battling anxiety, but wants to use his experiences to help others.
“I think it would be a waste to go through something, and not inspire someone who’s going through the same thing,” he explained.
For COVID-19 survivors Amanda Trejo and Marisa Leuizzi, their new purpose means donating their plasma.
“The idea of donating plasma, for example, it’s not something we planned to do,” said Trejo.
Out of her San Antonio family of 12, eight members were infected with the virus. They have all recovered, and will begin donating their plasma every four days.
“Everything that we can do to help possibly save a life, regardless whether it’s Covid or a car accident, it’s something people really need to start looking into,” Trejo said.
Recovered patients’ plasma now contain COVID-19 antibodies. Convalescent plasma is being looked into as a possible treatment for the virus. Their plasma could unlock potential treatments and a vaccine.
Leuizzi was able to save her aunt by donating plasma.
“I went and donated my plasma. We were an exact blood type match,” Leuizzi said. “Within the next eleven days from her infusion on April 14, she was able to come off the ventilator.”
She said the hospital was able to give her extra plasma to another patient, and he was able to come off the ventilator nine days after the infusion.
“I truly believe that maybe I got COVID-19 so that I could save my aunt, but a stranger as well,” she said.
Those who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks can sign up to be a plasma donor on the Red Cross website.
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