April 28, 2020

Steward’s Carney Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center seeking donors for COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Therapy

Experimental treatment offers hope to patients and staff

Dorchester, Mass (April 23, 2020) – While a vaccine for coronavirus may be months away, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton and Carney Hospital in Dorchester – both members of Steward Health Care are seeking donors to provide convalescent plasma treatments for appropriate COVID-19 patients. The protocol is one that could be lifesaving.

“The treatment is considered experimental yet approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to be used on an emergency basis,” said Dr. Peter LaCamera, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton.

 “People who recover from the coronavirus COVID-19 infection have developed antibodies to the virus that remain in the plasma portion of their blood for some period of time,” Dr. LaCamera explains. “Transfusing the plasma that contains the antibodies into a person still fighting the virus will hopefully provide a boost to that patient’s immune system and potentially help them recover.”

St. Elizabeth’s and Carney Hospital are seeking potential donors who have had COVID-19 and are recovered, who may be able to assist other patients who are currently hospitalized and being treated for the virus. There is a set of criteria a potential donor needs to meet in order to be able to donate. The two hospitals are working together in the care of their COVID-19 patients. Dr. Hari Singh is the lead at Carney for the convalescent plasma therapy, working with Dr. LaCamera. Anyone who is interested in being a potential donor should contact Arthur Dea or Heavan Vasconcelos in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center by calling 617-789-2078.

Eligible donors must meet three criteria:

Prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by an FDA-approved laboratory test

Symptom-free for at least 14 days prior to donation

“We appreciate the generosity and compassion of potential donors who step forward with the desire to help others,” LaCamera said. “The use of convalescent plasma could make an important difference for our patients who are battling this serious illness.”

About Steward Health Care

Steward Health Care is the nation’s largest private, for profit physician led health care network in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Steward operates 36 hospitals in the United States and the country of Malta that regularly receive top awards for quality and safety. The company employs approximately 40,000 health care professionals. The Steward network includes multiple urgent care centers and skilled nursing facilities, substantial behavioral health services, over 7,900 beds under management, and approximately 2.2 million full risk covered lives through the company's managed care and health insurance services. The total number of paneled lives within Steward's integrated care network is projected to reach three million in 2018.

The Steward Health Care Network includes five thousand physicians across 800 communities who help to provide more than 12 million patient encounters per year. Steward Medical Group, the company's employed physician group, provides more than six million patient encounters per year. The Steward Hospital Group operates hospitals in Malta and nine states across the U.S., including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.