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Metro Detroit man is first COVID-19 patient in Michigan to use antibody plasma treatment

Serious coronavirus-linked condition hit 285 US children
Posted at 12:40 PM, Aug 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 19:38:52-04

ANN ARBOR (WXYZ) — Can antibodies from the blood of patients who recovered from the coronavirus help those who are currently battling it?

A national convalescent plasma program is underway right now to get the answer to that question.

A COVID-19 patient at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor received this experimental treatment. Doctors say this may have saved his life.

Richard Beckerson spent the last four months at the hospital. He arrived on March 29.

“We got there. I laid down on the slab and that’s the last I remembered,” Beckerson said.

Like many patients, he was in the ICU on a ventilator for weeks.

“Treated him with a number of different modalities, not thinking he would survive,” said Dr. Stephen Bloom.

One of the weapons in the fight against the virus included the experimental treatment that uses plasma from a person who recovered from the coronavirus.

More than 1,000 hospitals across the country participate in this program. We’re told Beckerson was the first patient in Michigan to receive the treatment.

“The outstanding care that I got, needless to say, outstanding care,” Beckerson said.

After an aggressive but successful treatment, he was still facing an uphill battle. He couldn’t walk and had trouble talking.

“(Coronavirus) affected his muscles, his nerves, in addition to his lungs,” Dr. Bloom explained.

After getting physical therapy, Beckerson was able to walk out of the hospital to the sound of applause. He's now at home and moving on his own.

“(I can) get up and out of this chair by myself," Beckerson said. "I get out of bed, down the hallway in the bedroom by myself."

Beckerson now has a second chance at life and he’s hoping viewers will take precautions so they won’t go through what he did.

“Wear a mask and wash your hands,” he said.

Even though Beckerson is still dealing with mental and physical issues, he is happy to be alive.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.