Misty Wegman, a Medical Operations Supervisor at CSL Plasma in Nebraska, remembers the day her husband had a cardiac stress test: July 21, 2023.
During the test, David Wegman suffered what doctors call a “widowmaker” heart attack –a blockage in the biggest artery in their heart, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Blood can’t move through the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, which provides 50% of the heart muscle’s blood supply. Immediate treatment is a must.
He went into shock and his condition was complicated by left-sided acute heart failure and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs). In an emergency surgery, doctors placed a stent placed at the blockage site and he was transferred to the Heart and Vascular Intensive Care Unit at Creighton University Medical Center - Bergan Mercy in Omaha.
“With the first 48 hours being the most critical, they raced against the clock to save his life,” Misty Wegman said. She stayed by her husband’s side and witnessed the many intravenous (IV) therapies he received.
She noticed that one of the IV medicines was albumin, a plasma-derived treatment. Albumin, a protein, is among several medicines that are made from donated human plasma, which is what her job is all about. She has been working at the CSL Plasma Center in Omaha since October 2015. Doctors give patients albumin for a variety of reasons, including surgeries and shock.
The plasma collected at CSL Plasma Centers is used exclusively by CSL Behring to make medicines, including albumin and other treatments for rare and serious conditions. She said the experience made her grateful that plasma donors helped give her husband “a fighting chance.” He has been getting better every day, she said, and soon will start cardiac rehab.
“Without each one of us doing our part, medications like human albumin wouldn’t be available,” she said. “Thank you to all of you, the donors who donate and to all of us who work so hard at what we do every day. Together, we really do ‘do the amazing.’”