Covid survivor treated at Northwick Park donating his blood plasma to save others in national trial
PUBLISHED: 17:41 31 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:40 03 August 2020
A deaf Covid-19 survivor treated at Northwick Park Hospital is taking part in a national trial to see if his blood plasma can save others.
Richard Webb-Stevens, a paramedic for the London Ambulance Service, was critically ill with coronavirus in March.
The 46-year-old, a clinical team manager for the Motorcycle Response Unit, said: “I woke up one day feeling a little bit chestier than usual and it didn’t feel like asthma. The symptoms came on all of a sudden about four hours later. It honestly felt like I had been hit by a bus.”
He was taken to the Watford Road hospital by ambulance colleagues and was in a Covid ward for five days.
He recovered and was contacted by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) as his blood plasma can be transfused into people who still have Covid-19, to potentially save lives.
He said: “I’m truly over the moon. Apparently I have enough antibodies to help others.
“I’ve felt so useless not being on the frontline for the first time years – but now at least I can still play my part in helping fight against this awful virus.”
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NHSBT is prioritising men with positive tests as they are more likely to have high enough antibody levels for the donation to be eligible for use in the trial.
If successful, it will be rolled out in hospitals.
Richard, who was born deaf, has spent more than 20 years working for LAS and was the first deaf person to work as a flight paramedic on London’s air ambulance.
While ill in the Covid ward and unable to speak he was able to sign to his wife, Marie, through his mobile phone.
Lip reading was inhibited by the masks worn by doctors and nurses.
“It was difficult being able to distinguish who was talking but the nurses and doctors there were so understanding and they would take things a little slower and try to minimise the noise when talking to me,” he said.
He spent six weeks recovering at home and still finds it hard to walk up the stairs due to shortness of breath.
“I’ve still got a long road to recovery but I know I am one of the lucky ones.”
More Covid survivor plasma donors are needed. Call 0300 1232323 or visit nhsbt.nhs.uk/covid-19-research/
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