SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Shreveport nurse in the trenches battling the coronavirus credits a clinical trial and donation from a fellow healthcare worker with saving her life.
Christian Yancy was fighting on the frontlines of the pandemic as charge nurse over the COVID unit at Willis-Knighton when she noticed her first symptom.
“One night when I was working, I started coughing,” said Yancy. “And, it was like this persistent cough that wouldn’t go away.”
She tested positive for COVID-19 on April 25. After days of dealing with a fever, she finally sought help from the hospital. She was first admitted to the ICU, then the COVID unit, but her symptoms kept getting worse.
“The next thing I know, I went into respiratory failure,” Yancy said. “I had to require high levels of oxygen. I couldn’t breathe.”
Based on her condition, a doctor invited her to participate in a trial treatment using convalescent plasma.
“I need something to help save my life, so I went with it,” said Yancy.
In this treatment, plasma is donated by people who’ve recovered from COVID-19.
“I realized that I was blessed,” said Carol McDonald. “That so many people were so much worse off than I was.”
McDonald said she had a more mild case of COVID and the plasma donation process was painless and took about an hour.
The CHRISTUS employee gave Yancy the gift of life.
“I hoped, you know, that it would help someone, but I didn’t know if I would ever know for sure,” said McDonald.
Yancy said her symptoms started to improve within 24 hours of receiving McDonald’s plasma.
“That is encouraging to have patients feel and for us to see that they improve within 24 to 48 hours of receiving therapy,” said Willis-Knighton Director of Children’s Services Dr. Joseph Bocchini.
But the effectiveness of the treatment is still being determined through a nationwide Mayo Clinic study using data from more than 2,000 hospitals, including Willis-Knighton.
“Having the opportunity to be involved in evaluating potential therapies is a very humbling thing and very rewarding when it works,” said Dr. Bocchini.
Released from the hospital May 15, Yancy is now on the road to recovery. She said she is planning to pay it forward.
“I just hope that I can go out and do the same thing, so that I will be able to help save someone else’s life,” she said.
There is still a great need for convalescent plasma donations.
If you’ve recovered from the coronavirus and would like to donate, contact LifeShare Blood Center for more information.