First COVID-19 patient in St. Louis-area to receive experimental treatment makes remarkable recovery


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The first COVID-19 patient in the St. Louis-area to receive a plasma treatment is making a remarkable recovery.

Jim Hoffmann of south St. Louis County got to go outside Mercy Hospital South this afternoon; just the second time in five weeks of his hospitalization that he has been outside.

He received a second dose of good news Friday in the form of a surprise visit from his wife and three sons. Hoffmann hadn’t seen them since he went to the hospital. When the 61-year-old Hoffmann was admitted he was put on a ventilator, suffered multi-organ failure, and faced a 70 to 80 percent chance of dying. But the team at Mercy South decided to try the experimental convalescent plasma treatment, which takes antibodies from someone who has recovered from the disease and gives them to a patient with COVID-19.

“The big story really here is a random act of kindness that someone came in donated some plasma and saved my life,” Hoffmann said.

Hoffmann’s health began improving the day after the blood transfusion.

“We don’t know how this virus would react to an antibody coming from outside to help fight the virus, so those were the risks,” said Dr. Sameer Anan, Mercy Hospital. “But given how he was doing, I think those risks were worth taking.”

Hoffmann is going through rehab at the hospital now and hopes to go home sometime next week.

“For everybody else out there, if you can give some plasma and maybe save a life, please do it; I mean, I’m living proof right now,” he said.

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