An emergency room nurse in Riverside is struggling with COVID-19, and his wife is pleading with survivors of the virus to donate plasma because the antibodies could help save her husband's life, along with the lives of others.
"He comes home, locks himself in the garage while he takes all of his gear off," Maria Fernandez, whose husband is an ER nurse battling COVID-19, described her husband's cautious daily routine.
Fernandez's husband, George, religiously performed his routine hoping to safeguard his wife and the couple's 11-year-old special needs daughter.
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"We disinfect best as we can," Fernadez said. "He's got goggles and face shields, and we try to disinfect everything every single night."
George is an emergency room nurse at Redlands Community Hospital, where he treats COVID-19 patients. Eleven days ago, the 43-year-old essential worker became severely ill after also becoming infected with the coronavirus.
"These nurses are risking their lives every single day," the wife said.
With her husband's condition getting worse, Maria recently posted a message on Facebook pleading with COVID-19 survivors to step up for those who have been stepping up during the pandemic by donating their plasma, which may contain antibodies that could help George and others beat the virus.
"I was overwhelmed with the amount of messages and phone calls, private messages on Facebook," Fernandez said.
She says more than 30 people responded, promising to donate, but the process can take weeks before the plasma is ready.
"They told me it takes about two weeks to get the results of whether or not I have antibodies," Diane Jones, a donor, said.
Jones started the donation process Monday in Murrieta. The COVID-19 survivor says she decided to donate after hearing that plasma is in critically short supply and that she could help.
"It's a selfless thing to do in a time where there seems to be a huge gap between selfish behavior and selfless behavior," Jones said.
The donor is hoping her plasma contains the COVID-19 antibodies, but even if it doesn't, she says it's still worth checking.
Said Jones, "I just can't fathom anyone not taking that little step that could make a huge difference."
Fernandez couldn't agree more. She says George will start his plasma treatment soon, hopeful that her hero on the front lines will make a full recovery.
The family says a GoFundMe has been set up for George. If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe, you may do so here. Please note that GoFundMe takes a percentage of all money raised in the form of platform and other fees.