SAN ANTONIO – Update: 4/23/20:
Jimmie Hayden, the first local COVID-19 patient to be treated with plasma donated from someone who recovered from the virus, is finally home, according to his family who shared the news on social media.
The family also thanked the donor who helped Hayden, saying they hope to become friends since they’re already family.
A San Antonio man who was the first COVID-19 patient locally to be treated with plasma donated from someone who recovered from the new coronavirus was taken off of a ventilator Wednesday and is breathing on his own.
Jimmie Hayden’s doctor told Hayden’s wife that “He looks fantastic.”
Hayden will be weaned off of sedation over the next couple of days. His wife hopes to be able to talk to him on Thursday.
In sickness and in health are marriage vows that came into play for Ashley and Jimmie Hayden.
"He was continuing to run fevers. They started getting higher,” Ashley said.
Fevers continued for about a week before Ashley took Jimmie, 47, to the hospital where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was almost immediately put on a ventilator. It was an ordeal he had to undergo alone.
“It was very emotional, very heartbreaking that I could not be there with him by his side to help him through this,” Ashley said.
After almost 26 years of marriage, Ashley was forced to face the possibility of losing her high school sweetheart to the new disease.
“So we tried medications and tried other things and his prognosis kind of seemed to flatline,” Ashley said.
But then, some hope came along. A doctor told Ashley about an experimental treatment that involved giving her husband plasma with COVID-19 antibodies taken from at least one former patient.
The transfusion happened last Thursday.
"He received the first dose of plasma that was donated in San Antonio,” Hayden said.
She says within a day or two, Jimmie showed improvement and was even able to Facetime with family. She hopes their story inspires those who recovered from the new coronavirus to try and help those who are still sick.
"If you know you’ve had the positive result, you can donate this plasma. It’s so important for all these other sick patients,” Hayden said.
Hayden says she’s hopeful her husband will be taken off the ventilator on Tuesday, but no word on release date just yet. Whenever that does happen, she says he will still have to undergo rehab.
To find out how to donate plasma, click here.