Woman’s blood plasma donation to save her COVID-19-positive aunt saves another life as well

A Pennsylvania woman is helping to save the lives of two COVID-19 patients – one of them a family member – by donating her blood plasma.

News 12 Staff

Apr 22, 2020, 11:26 PM

Updated 1,459 days ago

Share:

A Pennsylvania woman is helping to save the lives of two COVID-19 patients – one of them a family member – by donating her blood plasma.
For the past month, Marisa Leuzzi’s Aunt Rene Bannister has been fighting for her life on a ventilator at Virtua Voorhees Hospital.
“There were multiple times that we got phone calls saying that they didn’t think she would make it through the night,” Leuzzi says.
But Bannister is now out of the hospital and in rehab thanks to a blood plasma donation from Leuzzi, who herself is a COVID-19 survivor.
“We brought it up to her team of doctors at the ICU at Virtua and they were honest with us and said, ‘We don’t know if this will work. It’s still very new. There’s not a lot of information on it.’ But they were willing to give it a try,” Leuzzi says.
Leuzzi donated her plasma with the help of the American Red Cross. Bannister started to improve almost immediately.
“Within the next three days, we started to see all of her other vitals like her blood pressure improve. Her heart rate improved, her oxygen improved and her fever was also coming down,” Leuzzi says.
Photos: The Heroes of the Coronavirus Pandemic
undefined
 
And it turns out that Leuzzi’s plasma was also able to help save another life – that of Mount Laurel husband and father Andy Fei.
“He’s doing good. Every day is better than the last,” says Fei’s son Patrick. "After the plasma, it sounded like his oxygen levels were getting better. His kidneys were functioning better and that really was the turning point for the whole situation."
Fei is now off a ventilator. His family says that they are hopeful he will be moved to a rehab facility soon. They say that they are hoping to spread the message about blood plasma donations.
“For us, we would just encourage anyone who’s recovered to do their part and donate plasma, because it’s created a real difference in helping the fight,” says Fei’s other son, Eric.
Virtua says that Leuzzi is the American Red Cross' first donor for this initiative nationwide. Both Fei and Bannister were taken off a ventilator in less than two weeks after receiving the plasma transfusion.


More from News 12
0:17
Police: Man dies, 2 others injured following shooting in Newark

Police: Man dies, 2 others injured following shooting in Newark

2:08
Partly Sunny, mild Sunday for New Jersey

Partly Sunny, mild Sunday for New Jersey

1:32
Jersey City Night Market holds 5th straight celebration

Jersey City Night Market holds 5th straight celebration

0:25
Police: Pedestrian fatally struck by car in Gloucester Township

Police: Pedestrian fatally struck by car in Gloucester Township

0:25
Camden County rabbi convicted of hiring men to kill his wife dies in prison

Camden County rabbi convicted of hiring men to kill his wife dies in prison

0:13
Authorities: Kenilworth man sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling cocaine

Authorities: Kenilworth man sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling cocaine

0:15
Authorities: Berkley Township man sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatal stabbing

Authorities: Berkley Township man sentenced to 20 years in prison for fatal stabbing

0:28
Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say

Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say

1:13
CDC: Children ER visits increased last 3 years for accidental Melatonin ingestion

CDC: Children ER visits increased last 3 years for accidental Melatonin ingestion

1:42
Police: Marlboro teacher accused of inappropriately touching student faces charges

Police: Marlboro teacher accused of inappropriately touching student faces charges

0:32
Man who lit himself on fire outside Trump trial has ties to New Jersey

Man who lit himself on fire outside Trump trial has ties to New Jersey

0:56
Graffiti of former Palestinian militant Leila Khaled found spray-painted at Rutgers University

Graffiti of former Palestinian militant Leila Khaled found spray-painted at Rutgers University

0:09
Police: 2 men critically injured in Newark shooting

Police: 2 men critically injured in Newark shooting

2:16
Public warned to keep their dogs away from seals at the Jersey Shore

Public warned to keep their dogs away from seals at the Jersey Shore

0:59
Jersey Proud: 3 men running the length of New Jersey for ‘Dylan’s Wings of Change’ charity

Jersey Proud: 3 men running the length of New Jersey for ‘Dylan’s Wings of Change’ charity

0:35
Tesla recalling nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks because accelerator pedal can get stuck

Tesla recalling nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks because accelerator pedal can get stuck

1:01
New Jersey water companies make plans to adapt federal ‘forever chemical’ guidelines

New Jersey water companies make plans to adapt federal ‘forever chemical’ guidelines

1:54
Authorities: 2 children at Port Reading school become sickened after ingesting marijuana gummies

Authorities: 2 children at Port Reading school become sickened after ingesting marijuana gummies

2:45
Business owners say they are losing business due to Route 71 bridge being stuck in up position

Business owners say they are losing business due to Route 71 bridge being stuck in up position

0:27
Prosecutors: Atlantic City’s Central Pier bursts into flames; 1 man dead

Prosecutors: Atlantic City’s Central Pier bursts into flames; 1 man dead