First COVID-19 patient in San Antonio to receive plasma therapy is recovering

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA New) – Forty-seven-year-old Jimmie Hayden of Spring Branch has been at Methodist Hospital in Stone Oak since April 2.

He was in critical condition with the novel coronavirus last week when doctors injected him with convalescent plasma from a donor who had COVID-19.  Now, he’s on the road to recovery.

His wife, Ashley told KTSA News that the family developed symptoms late last month after someone who visited their home later tested positive for COVID-19.  She and her children had minor symptoms, but her husband ended up in the hospital in critical condition.

“We were not feeling very confident in his progression, and the doctors were saying he was falling into a stagnant state, so we were hoping something would come along that would help him,” she said.

That ‘something’ was convalescent plasma–the liquid component of blood from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19.  Jimmie got the treatment last week and was taken off a ventilator Wednesday.

Ahsley explained that her husband actually removed the ventilator himself because he coughed so hard that he coughed the tube out.

On Easter Sunday, Ashley and her children were able to facetime with him, but of course, he was unable to talk. He did respond by nodding his head and giving a thumbs up.

An Easter miracle is happening and we are so thankful,” Ashley said.

She told KTSA News it’s difficult to come up with the words to express her appreciation to the plasma donor who provided her husband the antibodies he needs to fight off the virus.

“They’ve given me my husband back, and they’ve given my children their father back, and it’s just amazing to me,” she said. “I would just thank them as much as I could.”




Methodist Hospital Stone Oak was the first in San Antonio to explore the experimental therapy of using convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients who are in critical condition.

“While there are not any proven treatment options currently available for the novel coronavirus, we have patients severely suffering from COVID-19 who could benefit from convalescent plasma therapy,” said Dr. Rick Marple, Chief Medical Officer at Methodist Hospital Stone Oak. “Since these therapies have been previously used to treat similar diseases we believe using convalescent therapy may help neutralize the virus.”

Melody Goeken, who’s pretty sure she had COVID-19 last month, is waiting to see if she can be a donor.

“There’s a certain number of days that you have to wait between the last time you had your symptoms before they will test your blood for the antibodies,” said Goeken.

Those symptoms started in early March.  She couldn’t get in to see her regular physician, so she went to urgent care clinics where she was tested for the flu and bronchitis.  Those tests came back negative.

“At that point, they didn’t have COVID testing at these emergency clinics and my doctor wouldn’t give me the test because I was not near someone with a confirmed case and I had not traveled,” Goeken said.

Now Goeken and her physician believe she indeed had COVID-19.

“I had the dry cough, the loss of taste, the loss of smell, the fever.  I had stomach issues, aches and pains, and chills,” said Goeken.

But she says the worst part of those three weeks was the sheer exhaustion.

“Walking from my bedroom to my couch was such an ordeal.  I felt like I needed a three-hour nap,” said Goeken, but she’s grateful she didn’t have to go to the hospital.

Now she’s hoping her antibodies can help someone else fight off the virus.

Melody Goeken, waiting to see if she can donate plasma with antibodies to fight COVID-19.


If you’ve recovered from COVID-19 and you’d like to be a plasma donor, contact the South Texas Regional Blood and Tissue Center.

You might just be able to help someone like Jimmie Hayden

“We still have a ways to go, but we’re headed in the right direction and I know I can count on all of you to be along for the ride. Love to all!” Ashley Hayden posted on Facebook.


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