The experience of COVID-19 and the first plasma donation | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 28, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 28, 2020

The experience of COVID-19 and the first plasma donation

I am a doctor at a COVID-19 dedicated hospital where I kept serving during this pandemic without bowing down to my family's weary of constant fear of catching the deadly disease. Unfortunately, the suffocating personal protective equipments (PPE), litres of sanitiser and my over carefulness - nothing worked. I was tested COVID-19 positive!

A news too shocking to absorb for my family especially my mariner husband who was on board a ship and about to sail through the deep sea the very next day. My feelings, however, were blended with half gratefulness for my parents being tested negative; half the fear of the unknown consequences with toppings of sorrow. I got admitted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka.

 Days of isolation in CMH began, thankfully without much physical illness. The embellished cabins, tasty healthy meals, and late-night chat with my cabin mate were something I relished because I was an asymptomatic patient. Yet, at dawn and dusk, an awful silence dwelling in the empty corridors made a lump grow in my throat.

Amidst all these, my beloved's satellite call from the deep sea was more than inspiring. My phone overflowed with kind gestures and concerns from my family, friends, colleagues and even from the people I barely remembered talking to. By the grace of Almighty, I was discharged from CMH with a small ceremony where I could not thank enough the doctors, nurses and staff of CMH for the mighty job they were doing.

After coming I learned about the convalescent plasma therapy which showed effectiveness in treating critical COVID-19 patients because it is rich in antibodies against the virus.

The first thing to hit my mind was that my plasma was valuable, so I had to make the best use of it. I declared my will of plasma donation on a public platform. The response was overwhelming! Within a day a critical patient's family implored me to donate. I rushed to the hospital and the doctor checked on my documents and my parameters which were aligned with the standards required to be 'fit' to become a plasma donor.

It took about 45 minutes to extract my plasma in the apheretic machine and interestingly, to return all the blood cells back into my body. I did not feel any discomfort while donating the plasma. After the extraction for a patient, with my consent, another extraction was done for another patient. The doctor thanked me and said that my plasma donation can save two lives. I could not be any happier! On that very evening, this news went viral on the internet.

 I am still overwhelmed by the immense appreciation and applause from people all over Bangladesh. I became the first female plasma donor in my country. Being in people's prayers and get chosen to save lives by the Almighty is unimaginably rewarding and worth living for!

E-mail: drnafisamahmud@gmail.com

 

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