On Easter Sunday, Michael Kevin Rathel opened his eyes after a week in a medically-induced coma at Orlando Health.
Just a few days earlier, the father of three tested positive for the coronavirus and fell ill.
“The virus just accelerated so quickly,” his wife Stacie Rathel said.
Stacie Rathel said after he was admitted to the hospital, she decided she wouldn’t stand by and watch him spiral downward.
She pressed her husband’s doctors to use an exploratory plasma therapy she read about before the invisible virus infected her husband.
“I was relentless, I was not about to give up and I was so lucky and really fortunate to find a plasma donor,” Rathel said.
A post on Facebook led to the blood donation from a mutual friend who had recovered from the coronavirus and had the antibodies that might save the 52-year-old.
“We waited," Rathel said. "He gets the transfusion and we wait and we wait, and the next morning, I’m like, “'Is he going to wake up and be Ironman?'”
Rathel said the agonizing wait came to an end when she received a FaceTime call from her husband’s doctors on Easter Sunday.
“She holds the camera and they brought him off of sedation and he was awake," she said. “He was awake she was kind of helping to open his eyes.”
Meanwhile, Susan Forbes with OneBlood is calling for people to step up.
“Don’t wait to be asked to donate, do it,” said Forbes, the senior vice president, corporate communications and public relations, of OneBlood.
To qualify to donate plasma, you need to have the following:
- Prior positive diagnosis of COVID-19
- A positive detection of antibodies after recovery and eligible to donate blood
- Test negative for COVID-19 before donation
- Symptoms are not present for 14 days