After recovering from COVID-19, retired firefighter donates plasma: ‘Hopefully it saves a life’


WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ It wasn’t an easy April for retired firefighter Carl Pecchia.

The 57-year-old spent most of the month on his couch battling COVID-19, which he tested positive for in late March.

But after 28 days of being symptom-free, Pecchia was cleared by the American Red Cross to donate some of the plasma in his blood.

Pecchia said the entire process took approximately an hour.

“They took out three units of blood, separated the plasma and then put the three units of blood they took out back in,” Pecchia explained.

Peccia said he was told by the American Red Cross that the antibodies in his plasma would be used to help COVID-19 patients recover.

He said he was optimistic about the treatment after watching a story on CBS Sunday Morning about a woman who made a full recovery after receiving donated plasma.

“They really didn’t think she had a day, maybe hours left,” Pecchia recalled. “They had no other options and they gave her the plasma and she said within two days she felt 100% better.”

As a former lieutenant with the Warwick Fire Department, Pecchia said he has a history of saving lives. Now that he’s fully recovered from COVID-19, he said donating his plasma is the least he can do.

“It’s a really easy thing. I don’t have to put myself in jeopardy, in harm’s way,” he said. “I go out for a couple of hours, donate my plasma and hopefully save a life.”

Pecchia said he will be able to find out what hospital his plasma is donated to, but he won’t be told exactly which patient receives it due to confidentiality laws. He said he’ll be able to donate more of his plasma in another 28 symptom-free days.

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