Little Rock firefighter recovers from COVID-19, now donating plasma

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — More than 2,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus in Arkansas. One of those people is a Little Rock firefighter. 

It’s his job to save lives, but now he’s hoping to do that in a different way by helping others who are battling the virus.

For the past 18 years, John Fulbright has worked as an engineer for the Little Rock Fire Department.

“Engineers are the ones that operate the apparatus and basically drive to the scene,” explained Fulbright.

In March, he became the first member of the department to test positive for COVID-19.

“On March 28th, I started having severe shortness of breath and my saturations were down. We called the doctor and they said I needed to go to the ER,” said Fulbright.       

Fulbright spent six days in the hospital. While he was in the hospital, he learned his wife had tested positive as well.

Six weeks after he first tested positive for the virus, both he and his wife are feeling much better.

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“I’m excited to get back to work,” said Fulbright.      

On Monday, Fulbright made the decision to help others battling the virus.  He partnered with UAMS and the Arkansas Blood Institute to donate his own plasma.

“To give the plasma you have to have no signs or symptoms for 14 days and 2 negatives tests so I went back to get another test,” said Fulbright.

The hope is this convalescent plasma can be used to help treat seriously ill patients and possibly save a life. Fulbright says for him, that is just part of the job.

“If I can help someone else prevent the things that I went through, then I’m more than happy to do that,” said Fulbright.

Fulbright is expected to be back at work later this week.         

Anyone can donate plasma within 14 days of recovery of COVID-19. You must also have two negative tests.

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