KUALA LUMPUR, 10 April 2020:
“There is a blessing in this, I am grateful for being able to contribute to the treatment of Covid-19 patients,” said Chester Chang Chin Nam, 32, who was Malaysia’s Covid-19 case number 18 and now became the second contributor of blood plasma.
After tests were conducted, Chang was found to be healthy and suitable, as well as meeting the criteria for his plasma to be turned into serum to treat patients of the disease.
The casino marketing manager considers himself lucky to be able to contribute to society, even though he is not a frontliner.
“At a time when the nation is facing an increasing number of cases, I feel I can contribute more than just sitting at home.
“After I recovered and was discharged from the hospital on Feb 19, two weeks later I was asked to return to the hospital to undergo a health check and the doctor took a sample of my blood.
“When I got the call from the hospital on April 6 telling me that my blood plasma was suitable for donation, I went to the National Blood Centre the very next day.”
He was aware not all former Covid-19 patients could donate their plasma – the yellow liquid in the blood which contains antibodies – that will be processed before it is given to other patients as a vaccine.
“Blood donors must be healthy of any chronic diseases, not on any long-term medication and in good health.
“The doctor told me that with my weight of 75kg, I could only donate up to 500ml of blood at any one time. After I gave my blood, I was given a certificate of appreciation,” he said, adding that he could go back to the Blood Bank in two weeks to donate again.
Chang said he hoped more people who had recovered from Covid-19 would come forward to donate plasma so as to help treat other patients.
However, he said, they have to first go through a health check at the hospital and get a doctor’s permission to enable them to be donors.
Narrating his experience, Chang said he fell sick on Feb 3 after he returned home to Banting, Selangor – having gone to Macau to celebrate Chinese New Year on Feb 1.
“I could have contracted the disease at the airport or in the plane, I became sick two days later, and had flu and a sore throat.
“Four days later, when my fever did not subside, I went to the health clinic and the doctor indicated that I had Covid-19 after I told him my travel history.”
Chang was then rushed to the Banting Hospital where screening tests were conducted. While waiting for the results, he was quarantined for two days in the isolation ward, and after he was found to be positive, on Feb 9, he was transferred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital (HSB).
He said the next 11 days became a blur of regular temperature checks, x-rays and doses of medication.
“The first four days at the HSB, I had difficulty breathing and needed respiratory aid, but on the fifth day, my health improved although I still came up positive for Covid-19.
“The doctors told me that for as long as I came up positive for Covid-19, I would have to remain in the ward, but thankfully, on the 11th day, Feb 19, I was confirmed free of the disease and discharged.”
He said although many looked at him negatively, accusing him of being a carrier of Covid-19, he looks at his situation positively.
“There were people who viralled my photograph on social media, and my family was stressed because they too were affected. I advised them to ignore all the negativity on the social media.”