CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Man Says Convalescent Plasma Saved His Life

Sep 2, 2020, 5:37 AM | Updated: Sep 7, 2020, 5:48 am

PROVO, Utah – A man who spent six weeks in the hospital and more than three weeks on a ventilator with COVID-19 said convalescent plasma saved his life.

Ray Leazenby, 60, of Orange County, California, was discharged from Utah Valley Hospital in Provo Tuesday.

His family said just weeks earlier it was in question whether Leazenby would survive the novel coronavirus.

“(There were) lots of prayers and lots of faith but it was the plasma—and it is a miracle,” wife Debra said. “I watched it with my own eyes.”

Leazenby’s fight with COVID-19 began earlier this summer after a family gathering.

While the family maintained that it socially-distanced and followed all recommended precautions, Leazenby said all 20 adults present contracted the disease along with multiple children.

His case quickly proved to be the most severe as relatives rushed him initially to American Fork Hospital.

“By the time they got him to the hospital, he had lost his speech,” Debra Leazenby said. “He couldn’t recognize anybody, he couldn’t follow simple commands.”

As his condition worsened, Leazenby was flown to Utah Valley Hospital.

He contracted double pneumonia and encephalitis.

“The pneumonia was so bad, they had to put him on 100% oxygen on the bed,” Debra said. “They had to keep him on his stomach and they had to physically not just sedate him but paralyze him, too.”

Debra Leazenby said Ray was in such poor shape at one point that it looked like he may not survive.

None of the treatments seemed to be working, and then one last option emerged.

“This was a few hours after they told me he wasn’t going to make it through the day,” the wife said. “It was called convalescent plasma.”

Debra Leazenby said within eight hours of beginning the treatment, her husband’s condition leveled off.

He has steadily improved since, up through his Tuesday discharge. Though Leazenby has little recollection of those six weeks in the hospital, he is grateful the treatment worked and he is pleading with others who have had COVID-19 to donate their convalescent plasma.

The Red Cross for one, has been collecting those types of donations.

Leazenby also hopes people will simply take the disease seriously and take the precautions necessary to reduce the spread and minimize the risk.

“I thought I was a fit individual, body-builder my whole life—you know, the strongest guy in the room,” Leazenby said. “I’m the one who almost died from it.”

Last month, the Associated Press reported an emergency authorization was given to treat COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma, which is blood plasma taken from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and rich in antibodies. But the evidence so far has not been conclusive about whether it works, when to administer it and what dose is needed.

It also reported that in a letter describing the emergency authorization, the chief scientist for the FDA, Denise Hinton, said: “COVID-19 convalescent plasma should not be considered a new standard of care for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Additional data will be forthcoming from other analyses and ongoing, well-controlled clinical trials in the coming months.”

KSL.com’s Viviane Vo-Duc contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

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
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 targeting newest variants

U.S. clears updated COVID-19 boosters targeting the newest omicron strain; shots could begin within days.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Man Says Convalescent Plasma Saved His Life