CORONAVIRUS UTAH

First Utahn Treated With Plasma Transfusion Recovering, Returns Home

May 1, 2020, 7:15 PM | Updated: 9:48 pm

MURRAY, Utah — Utah’s first recipient of a convalescent plasma transfusion is recovering and has returned home.

Cynthia Lemus spent the last three weeks on a ventilator, battling COVID-19 at Intermountain Medical Center.

“My body still feels really weak. I don’t feel like my full self,” she said in an online press conference.

Until a few days ago, Lemus and her husband did not know whether she would make it out of the hospital alive.

Intermountain doctors said they are thrilled about her recovery, but cannot attribute it directly to the plasma transfusion.

“Trying to get my energy back,” she said.

Lemus said she still feels pretty wiped out, but the majority of COVID-19 patients who go on ventilators do not recover.

“The journey itself was a complete nightmare,” said her husband, Moises Lemus.

He could not be at her side while she was hospitalized due to the virus and said he was terrified not knowing how she was doing.

It was truly a triumphant moment when the 24-year-old left the hospital Thursday. Doctors and nurses cheered her on as she was rolled away in a wheelchair.

Cynthia Lemus spent 20 days on a ventilator and received a plasma infusion 13 days ago with COVID-19 antibodies as part of a study with the Mayo Clinic, sponsored by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

“It was a little bit scary being there alone since family isn’t allowed to be at the hospital,” she said. “But, I know that all of the doctors and nurses that were there made me feel like family.”

When a person is infected with a virus, the body generates an immune response and makes antibodies specific to that virus. In theory, those antibodies attach to the virus particles, and can neutralize the virus.

“Cynthia actually received the state of the art, most intensive type of life support therapy which allowed her to battle the infection, while giving her lungs a break so they could heal,” said Dr. Brandon Webb with Intermountain Healthcare.

“It’s hard to say for sure whether the plasma is the factor that’s making a difference, but in general, the patients who have received it have seen small, but measured improvements,” said Dr. Dave Morris with Intermountain Healthcare.

In the past two weeks, 11 more Intermountain patients have been given plasma donations, and two more have said they are ready and willing.

Moises and Cynthia Lemus urged everyone to take COVID-19 seriously.

Moises Lemus spent three weeks not knowing whether he would see his wife again. But when he finally saw her, he was overcome with emotion.

“My heart dropped,” he said. “It was like she was walking down the aisle again. Tears were coming out. It was just amazing.”

The doctors urged COVID-19 survivors to consider donating their plasma.

Survivors can visit redcrossblood.org to see if they are eligible.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

flu shot tripledemic...
Matt Rascon

KSL+: The rise of respiratory viruses and COVID’s impact

It’s not even winter yet, and the CDC is warning that the country is experiencing a resurgence of respiratory viruses, which are taking a toll on hospitals and children.
6 days ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

US clears updated COVID boosters for kids as young as 5

The U.S. on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 5, seeking to expand protection ahead of an expected winter wave.
2 months ago
...
Alex Cabrero and Mike Anderson, KSL TV

Sandy woman shares frustration of ongoing battle with COVID-19

As life starts to return to normal from the pandemic, for millions of Americans, it still causes a daily struggle. That's the case for one Sandy woman, who shared her story Tuesday.
2 months ago
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
2 months ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Jed Boal

Despite reaching 5,000 deaths, Utah’s COVID-19 numbers are down

The director of the World Health Organization said yesterday about COVID-19, “the end is in sight,” even if we are not there yet.
3 months ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
LAURA UNGAR AP Science Writer

Is COVID-19 winding down? Scientists say no

New booster shots have arrived and social distancing guidelines have eased but COVID-19 infections aren't going away anytime soon. Experts predict the scourge that's already lasted longer than the 1918 flu pandemic will linger far into the future as the virus continues to cause deaths and may well mutate or evolve into a new disease.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
First Utahn Treated With Plasma Transfusion Recovering, Returns Home