Blount Co. Memorial patient recovering from COVID-19 after being the first to receive plasma treatment

Jones is the first patient at Blount Memorial Hospital to receive the plasma treatment for COVID-19. / Source: WVLT News
Jones is the first patient at Blount Memorial Hospital to receive the plasma treatment for COVID-19. / Source: WVLT News(WVLT)
Published: May. 16, 2020 at 3:40 PM EDT
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A woman is reportedly recovering from COVID-19 after she became the first patient at Blount Memorial Hospital to receive convalescent plasma as part of her treatment.

Tonya Jones was able to go home Saturday morning, eight days after she received convalescent plasma as part of her treatment for COVID-19 at Blount Memorial Hospital on May 8.

Jones received her positive test results after a feeling that “something was just not right,". She was reportedly suffering from chest pains, body aches, chills and vomiting.

All was fine, she said, until one day, sitting on the edge of her bed, she couldn’t stop gagging and vomiting. “I had a hard time breathing,” Jones said. “My breath was short, not all the way gone, but I was having a really hard time breathing.”

Jones was instructed to go through the emergency room by Blount Memorial after consulting with her primary care provider about her constant coughing and vomiting. “It was miserable,” Jones said. “I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst enemies.”

According to a release, Jones was receiving care at the hospital for three days before she was transferred to the intensive care unit due to her worsened condition.

“Our biggest challenge in taking care of her was the amount of oxygen she was requiring to maintain an adequate blood oxygen saturation,” said pulmonologist Dr. Andy Waller, who cared for Jones in the intensive care unit. At this point, Jones was receiving 100 percent high-flow oxygen, which meant the next step for her was most likely being put on a ventilator.

After five days of being in the hospital's ICU, Jones was able to return to a regular patient room. Due to her declining condition, Waller requested and was approved to used donated plasma to treat Jones' condition.

“She, clinically, looked better, felt better and her oxygen requirements and chest X-ray stabilized within 24 to 48 hours,” Waller said, noting that by the third day, there were clear improvements. “Most importantly, she did not ultimately require being placed on a ventilator.”

Jones, also known as “Ganna” to her three grandchildren, said in addition to the plasma and team of doctors who cared for her, her savior Jesus Christ also had his hands involved in her recovery. “I could have been gone,” she said, sitting in her hospital bed with her Bible in her hands as she did her Bible study. “I was saved before now, and I thank him every day.”

Jones was released from the hospital on May 16 and was sent home with all of her doctors and nurses cheering her on.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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