Carmel firefighter donates plasma after beating COVID-19

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CARMEL, Ind. — Carmel firefighter Kevin Young is now on his second day back to work after being out nearly a month with COVID-19.

“I remember telling my wife this is as bad as I’ve ever felt in my life,” Young said. “It put me down. I was totally wiped out in every way possible from this thing.”

Young first developed symptoms in mid-March. Aches led to a fever that continued to get worse as he self quarantined at home. He then tested positive for COVID-19, and his condition worsened.

The healthy 40-year-old firefighter who spends seven days a week in the gym was in the hospital for nearly three days before going home to recover.

“I ended up getting on oxygen at the hospital,” Young said. “After I was discharged, I actually required oxygen at my house for the next seven days.”

After beating the virus, it’s likely Young now has antibodies in his blood plasma. Those antibodies can fight off the infection, and doctors have now begun using it as a potential treatment.

“My specific blood type makes me a universal donor for plasma,” Young said. “So even before this coronavirus I caught, my plasma was pretty valuable. Now it seems like it’s golden plasma.”

After recovering and officially testing negative, Young donated plasma for a friend of a friend who is seriously ill and in the hospital with coronavirus.

“They’re not sure if the plasma is having a giant effect or not,” Young said. “She (wife of patient) did say that he has been able to open his eyes and shake his head ‘no’ that he wasn’t in pain. But he’s still heavily sedated.”

Young says he’ll continue to donate his plasma once a week, which is the maximum amount he can. He’s hoping everything he has gone through fighting the disease might help others in their own fight.

“I don’t see myself stopping as long as this outbreak is still going on,” Young said.

Young says the whole process took an hour and 20 minutes. He was told each donation produces enough plasma for three treatments.

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