After nearly two months in the intensive care unit and at times near death, a New Hampshire man is finally home with his family having beaten the deadly new coronavirus with the help of an experimental treatment.
It’s a moment Joe Jozitis’ doctors thought they’d never see.
“We were quite certain that he wasn’t going to survive,” said Dr. Timothy Scherer.
Otherwise healthy, Jozitis was admitted to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center on April 3 with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The Litchfield resident was on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma for nearly two months.
“There was little to no progress and it became disheartening," said Scherer, who is the chief medical officer at SNHMC.
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Scherer said there was little left they could do -- until the hospital joined a nationwide trial, injecting sick patients with plasma, rich in antibodies, from COVID-19 survivors.
“You’re using that person’s immune system to fight off the infection in your body,” the doctor explained.
Days after Jozitis’ plasma transfusion, his condition started to improve.
And on Wednesday he was released from the hospital, surrounded by his team of ICU nurses.
“It was a huge milestone and a memory they will carry with them for the rest of their lives,” said Chief Nursing Officer Cheryl Gagne.
We spoke with Jozitis since he got home. He said he’s thankful for all the support but he wasn’t feeling up to doing an interview.
Scherer noted that, while Jozitis’ success story might be the most impressive, it isn’t the only one. In fact, every patient who’s received this plasma treatment at the Nashua hospital has survived.
“It’s very encouraging,” he said. “For me, I’m hopeful that this is something that’s going to help other people.”
Serious coronavirus patients will be able to receive this plasma treatment as long as there is plasma available.
That’s why Scherer is encouraging anyone who’s survived COVID-19 to donate at their local Red Cross.