Beverly Miller is a local piano teacher who lives in Brandon. Her family had a bout with COVID-19 this past July.
“My son tested positive for COVID the first week of July,” Miller said. “Soon after, my husband started showing symptoms, lost his sense of smell and had a low-grade fever for one day. I really didn’t have any symptoms other than losing my sense of smell. Our daughter had no symptoms at all.”
The family quarantined themselves for the recommended 14 days to make sure they didn’t spread the virus.
“My husband and I never got an actual COVID test,” Miller said. “Once the 14 days past, I went to donate blood to see if I had the COVID antibodies so I could donate convalescent plasma to help others who have COVID get better.”
OneBlood told Miller that her blood tested positive for TRALI, which means transfusion-related acute lung injury.
“We’ve known about TRALI since the 90s,” said Dr. Elliot Cazes of Tampa. “It’s one of those common things that no one knows about, but we see it all the time in patients in two situations. The first is postpartum due to the antibodies that moms produce when they are pregnant. The second is in patients who receive some type of blood product such as plasma, which is where convalescent plasma comes into the picture. It’s a very big deal as it’s fatal in lots of cases because you end up with a situation where you have pulmonary fibrosis. The lungs are unable to function. You can have multi-symptoms and organ failure. It’s kind of like an autoimmune cascade, where once you have this and encounter something that triggers it, it can progress over a few days and you can die.”
Miller was very disappointed that she couldn’t be a convalescent plasma donor because for everyone who donates convalescent plasma, they are helping to save three to four lives of people who are infected with COVID-19.
“My hope is that men who had COVID and are reading my story will come forward and donate convalescent plasma to help those who are battling COVID,” Miller said.