Lexington County Man Survives COVID-19 With Help of Therapeutic Plasma

Jeff Bennett is a COVID-19 survivor. The Lexington County business owner was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus at Lexington Medical Center in March. His condition worsened to the point where he needed to be on a ventilator.

Inside Lexington Medical Center’s Critical Care Unit, doctors gave Mr. Bennett an innovative treatment known as therapeutic plasma exchange. This innovative and aggressive treatment replaces a sick patient’s “inflamed” plasma with standard “clean” plasma. The idea is that plasma from a healthy person can help a patient fight COVID-19. Lexington Medical Center was one of only a handful of hospitals in the nation using this type of plasma exchange for COVID-19 patients.

In this video, Mr. Bennett and his wife share their COVID-19 story.

Therapeutic plasma exchange has been used for many years for other conditions, but medical intensive care physicians at Lexington Medical Center have used it since late 2019 for patients with septic shock and multiple organ failure. In March, they started using it for patients with COVID-19.

Therapeutic plasma exchange is different than the more widely used convalescent plasma, which transfuses plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient.

COVID-19 alters chemical communicators in the body that help fight infection. Lexington Medical Center doctors think the donor plasma may be able to tell the body how to fight the infection and mitigate the body’s response to it.

Lexington Medical Center is thankful to the community for its kindness and support as hospital clinicians work to take care of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lexington Medical Center and DHEC Continue to Offer Free COVID-19 Testing

At the request of Senator Nikki Setzler and Reverend Dr. Charles B. Jackson Sr., Lexington Medical Center and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control are working together to provide free COVID-19 testing at Brookland Baptist Church, which is located at 1066 Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia, on Tuesday, June 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The free testing is open to people who live in Cayce and West Columbia. Individuals do not need to have symptoms. No appointments are necessary.

Clinicians will administer the tests in a drive-thru format. Patients do not need to get out of their cars.

Testing for COVID-19 involves a nasopharyngeal swab, where a clinician places a special 6-inch cotton swab up both sides of the nose and rotates it around for about 15 seconds. DHEC is providing the test kits, which will go to third-party laboratories for processing.

Lexington Medical Center and DHEC are thankful for the support of the Midlands community throughout the coronavirus pandemic as they work to keep everyone healthy and safe.

Further questions about testing should be directed to DHEC at www.scdhec.gov or (803) 898-3432.

Meet the Doctors: Infectious Disease Physician Emilio V. Perez-Jorge

Dr. Emilio V. Perez-Jorge, an infectious disease physician with Lexington Medical Specialists, moves through the hospital each day with purpose. He briskly walks the halls of Lexington Medical Center checking on patients fighting some of the most stubborn infections and diseases. Although he commonly treats patients with pneumonia, diabetic foot infections and bloodstream infections, COVID-19 has now taken center stage.

Follow along as Dr. Perez makes his rounds at the hospital and shares what he’s learned about the novel coronavirus.