Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Takes first Convalescent Plasma Donation to Combat COVID-19

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Takes first Convalescent Plasma Donation to Combat COVID-19

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare operates dozens of hospitals and clinics in the Memphis, Tennessee now participates in the national COVID-19 convalescent plasma study led by Mayo Clinic and cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Recently, a University of Tennessee Health Science physician was the first to donate the convalescent plasma study.

Memphis Area—the Numbers

Memphis, with 652,000 residents, is Tennessee’s second largest city after Nashville. Part of Shelby County with just south of 1 million residents, the county impact is palpable with 2,122 active cases and 45 deaths. Based on unfolding data, the social determinants of health play a part in SARS-CoV-2 fatalities. For example, recent studies reveal African Americans are impacted at significant higher rates. Memphis poverty rates, nearing 30%, correlate with an 60%+ African American population in the city—indicating residents could face a higher probability of severe cases to fatalities.

The Convalescent Plasma Study

Hence, the importance of plasma donations from those that have recovered. Although an investigational therapy, the FDA has given the greenlight indicating hope within the medical community that this approach can make a difference.   And Dr. Daniel Wakefield of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center was the first in the area to donate his plasma.

The Research Site

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (MLH) Critical Care physicians Dipen Kadaria, MD and Amik Sodhi, MD have developed the treatment program for patients at MLH. Those interested in donating their convalescent plasma to help current COVID-19 patients must have had a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, be symptom free and fully recovered for at least 14 days at the time of donation, and have negative nasal swab test if recovery has been less than 28 days.

The Health System

MLH was built around LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, a 255-bed tertiary care in downtown Memphis. The provider was founded 100 years ago by a local farm who saw a need for high quality health care in Memphis. Now they represent the largest provider of care to residents of Greater Memphis.

Blood Collection Centers

In Memphis, as with elsewhere, the American Red CrossVitalant  and other blood donation sites are supporting the study effort nationwide. 

Lead Research/Investigator

Dipen Kadaria, MD

Amik Sodhi, MD

Call to Action:  For those that fit the inclusion criteria, reach out to American Red Cross at 901-726-1690 or Vitalant at 901-399-8120.