As hospitals in Kashmir started opening up to Convalescent Plasma Therapy (CPT), a leading doctor who recently recovered from COVID19 today donated his plasma for a critically ill patient admitted at SKIMS Soura.
Prof Saleem Wani, head department of Urology and Kidney Transplant Unit at SKIMS, today donated blood for extraction of plasma for CPT. He had tested positive for COVID19 on 12 June. The plasma, Dr Wani said, will be administered to a COVID19 patient whose life the doctors at the Institute were trying to save.
The elderly patient is admitted at the hospital and is the father of a SKIMS employee. Prof Rafi A Jan, Pulmonologist and part of the clinical team for CPT at SKIMS, said the patient was "very sick" and the team decided to explore the possibility of CPT. "Luckily we had a donor," he said, adding that he hoped for a better outcome for the recipient. Prof Jan said Prof Wani's plasma recipient would be the third person to get plasma therapy at SKIMS. "Last week, two patients admitted with us received plasma. One of them has improved," he said.
Dr Wani said he had offered to donate plasma last week but his blood group did not match and another voluntary donor's plasma was used for that patient. "Today, the son of the patient approached me and asked if I would be ready to donate blood for his sick father," Dr Wani said adding that he "did not hesitate for a moment".
While talking about the stigmatization of COVID19 patients and the treatment they are meted out by society, Dr Wani said plasma donation helped him overcome the trauma he had experienced when he tested positive for the viral disease. "It felt like catharsis," Dr Wani said adding that the feeling of being able to help save someone's life with one's blood after recovering from infection "somehow helped him let go of the anguish" he had gone through. "When your own institute disowns you and when there is only negativity that comes your way after you test positive, this feels like a riposte," he said.
Dr Wani urged recovered COVID19 positive patients to come forward and donate their plasma and help others, who are battling with the viral disease, survive it. "Anyone can donate plasma. He needs to have recovered from COVID19, without underlying diseases, and in case of females, never been pregnant," he said.
However, even though more people may come forward to donate plasma, SKIMS did not have a plasma bank to keep plasma available to patients on need basis, a senior doctor said. He said the plasma was extracted from blood by an obsolete method and SKIMS was yet to put the requisite infrastructure in place.
Dr Wani also expressed anguish at the absence of aphaeresis equipment and plasma bank at SKIMS. "About six months into the epidemic, we are yet to put the things like these that we actually require, in place," he said.