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First plasma therapy patient returns home after 53 days in hospital with coronavirus

Patrick Bright, a veteran federal officer, spent three weeks at Medstar Georgetown Hospital and was on a ventilator for nine days.

WASHINGTON — Sirens ring, balloons blow in the wind and people jump in excitement as they watch a veteran federal officer at the Pentagon arrive home from the hospital after his battle with coronavirus.

Patrick Bright, of Clinton,Maryland, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 23 after visiting a drive-through testing site. Bright was admitted to Medstar Southern Maryland Hospital that day, and airlifted to Medstar Georgetown Hospital on March 25.

Bright spent nine days in the ICU on a ventilator before recovering on Easter, April 12. He is now going home after 53 days in the hospital.

"It's a humble experience when the doctors tell your wife that you only have three to five days [to live] and that you might not make it overnight," Bright said.

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Bright's family was told to begin arranging his funeral shortly before he received convalescent plasma therapy. His prognosis quickly turned around and after several weeks, he is going home.

Convalescent plasma is a part of blood collected from patients who have recovered from an infection. The blood from people who have recovered from the infection contains antibodies that have been used successfully to treat sick patients with the same disease.

This form of therapy is not new and has been used for more than 100 years to treat or prevent infection.

The FDA approved Medstar Georgetown to use convalescent plasma as a therapeutic treatment. It's the first hospital in the D.C. area to be able to offer convalescent plasma therapy and Bright was the first patient to successfully receive it.

"When I woke up, only thing I could see is my family on the Zoom video and that right there just gave me even more motivation to say, 'Hey, you're going to fight this. You're coming home,'" Bright said. 

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Bright received plasma collected from a Medstar Georgetown physician who also was diagnosed with coronavirus in March.

"Without Medstar and that incredible team and staff, I wouldn't have been able to get sleep at night," Bright's wife said. "They helped me sleep at night and knowing that they were doing all that they could to support my family and all they could to save my husband's life." 

Upon Bright's return home, he was also greeted by a parade of cruisers from federal officers at the Pentagon.

"Thank you Pentagon Police Department, thank you family and friends," Bright said greeting his brothers in blue. "I would have never expected this. I just thought I was going to come home, have a quiet meal and relax." 

The experience has made Bright so excited that he and his wife are interested in donating their plasma to help others.

If you would like to donate your plasma to Medstar Georgetown Hospital, email MGUHDonatePlasma@medstar.net.

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