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Stuart Man Survives Virus and Donates Plasma to Save Another Life

A Stuart man who beat the coronavirus is gaining national attention for donating his plasma donation to save the life of an Orlando father.

The experimental treatment is credited with possibly saving the life of the patient who has been in a medically-induced coma two weeks ago at Orlando Health.

Michael Rathel received the plasma injection Monday and just four days later he has improved so much that he could be moved out of the ICU as soon as today.

James P. Crocker, who lives in Martin County and is the president and founder of Hog Technologies in Stuart, said he contracted COVID-19 while attended a funeral in Palm City on Feb. 27 for his nephew.

Crocker said 20 people at the service got sick about a week later. He was one of two family members who tested positive for the coronavirus.

As he recovered, Crocker reached out to a friend in Orlando who had told him about 52-year-old Michael Kevin Rathel’s battle with the coronavirus in Orlando.

His friend told him that his 52 year-old friend was “perfectly healthy” but now “on life support and his only real chance was plasma.

Rathel was hospitalized in a coma and hydroxychloroquine and other treatments did not work.

Crocker drove to Orlando and within 36 hours had donated his plasma, meeting Rathel’s family beforehand.

Convalescent plasma uses blood from coronavirus survivors to help patients with COVID-19. The FDA recently approved it only for emergency use on a case by case basis.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 and want to donate their plasma can visit OneBlood.org for more info.