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Coronavirus Pandemic: Evergreen Doctor Is First In Colorado To Be Treated With Convalescent Plasma

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - According to his wife, an anesthesiologist from Evergreen on a ventilator fighting COVID-19 is making gradual improvements after receiving plasma from a patient who recovered from the virus. Dr. Michael Leonard is the first to get the experimental treatment at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and in Colorado.

"You know I'm really hopeful that he's going to come home," an emotional Meg Leonard told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

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Michael Leonard (credit: Leonard family)

Her husband, Michael, has been breathing with the help of a ventilator for 13 days. He entered UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital with COVID-19. He's been fighting for his life ever since.

Meg is hoping an experimental treatment is working.

"I'm just sending him all my positive energy, love and prayers," she said.

Last week, the Leonard's daughter, Molly, sent out a desperate plea for a donor. Doctors across the nation are giving antibody-rich plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients to current patients to see if it will fight off the disease.

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(credit: CBS)

Leonard received an infusion of convalescent plasma on Thursday.

"I think the last three days we have seen gradual improvements," said Meg.

But there are no guarantees.

"We don't have great evidence that this is going to work," said Dr. David Beckham, an infectious disease researcher with the CU School of Medicine.

He says convalescent plasma has the potential to work in some patients, but he sees it as a stopgap.

"Until we can get more, kind of, rigorously defined, more advanced therapeutics on board," he said.

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(credit: CBS)

But the Leonards are rallying around Michael. Three times they've spoken to him through an iPad held up by a nurse to his ear.

"We tell him we love him. We want him to get better, just hang on and fight hard," said Meg.

She expects her smart, funny husband of 32 years to keep his promise.

"The last text he sent from the hospital he said, 'I'm coming home' and I'm hanging on to that," she said.

According to Beckham, one other patient at UCHealth has gotten a convalescent plasma transfusion. He says researchers at UCHealth and across the world are conducting controlled trials on potential treatments.

He believes we will know in a month or two if any work.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado


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