Bowling Green COVID survivor makes history with plasma donation

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:11 PM EDT
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Lexington, Ky. (WKYT) - An ICU nurse from Bowling Green is now part of a historical plasma donation in Lexington.

After almost dying from COVID-19, Molly Dawson is now donating convalescent plasma that can help patients currently being treated for coronavirus.

Working in the ICU, 25-year-old Dawson saw in March just how deadly COVID-19 was becoming.

“Especially while we don’t know what’s going on, if I can help, you know, I’m a nurse. I got into nursing because I want to help people and I want to save lives,” Dawson said.

The virus hit Dawson’s unit hard the first few months. Her coworkers becoming its next targets.

“Most of the people in my unit had already had COVID.”

Early June, and Dawson started feeling the symptoms herself. Two false negatives, and 10 days later, she woke up at 2:30 in the morning, unable to breathe.

"It felt like I was drowning. I took myself to the ER and started this journey I didn’t think I would be on. "

Dawson now laying in the very place of the people she’d been treating. She was intubated, but the situation quickly worsened.

“Within 12 hours of that, they decided I was getting worse, and I needed to be flown and airlifted to Nashville.”

Dawson would spend the next 17 days on a ventilator. Almost dying three times.

“Plasma is one of the things that helped save my life.”

Three months after recovering, Dawson is now making history.

“She’s the first person we are collecting convalescent plasma from, who received convalescent plasma as part of her therapy when she was hospitalized,” said Medical Director of the Kentucky Blood Center, Dr. Dennis Williams.

Williams said this plasma is part of a therapy where they collect antibodies from patients who had COVID and have now recovered.

“It’s a very powerful donation to be able to collect from one person to treat four others," said Dr. Williams.

A full circle moment for a nurse whose dream is to save lives any way she can.

"Do my part, since I can’t be at work right now,” said Dawson.

Dawson now spends about 13 hours a week in various therapies.

She said she’s still recovering from neurology issues from being on the ventilators for so long.

Dr. Williams said they are still studying the convalescent plasma transfusions, saying anyone who gets a transfusion is monitored closely after.

The Kentucky Blood Center is starting antibody testing again Saturday, and it will last for the next three weeks.

You can donate blood and if it’s positive for antibodies, you’ll be recruited to come back and donate plasma. Find our more information here.

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