Scott Kaplan, one of the first Coloradans to receive convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19, died Saturday evening.
His wife, Denise Kaplan, kept a community of supporters updated on Facebook throughout his illness. On Sunday, she posted about his death and his life.
"Scott will sorely be missed," she wrote. "He made an impact on everyone he met, and rarely met someone he didn't like or would not consider a friend. His smile lit the room, his laugh was infectious, and his hugs would envelope your every fiber with his massive wing span as he exuded his feelings of love."
Kaplan, 43, had multiple sclerosis and was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late March. He received plasma from a donor who recovered from COVID-19 on April 5.
"Many of the UCH employees stopped in his room last week in amazement that he was so sick -- one respiratory therapist who saw him when he was still on ECMO life support said Scott responded so well to the plasma that they truly thought he was going to walk out of there," Denise said in an email to CPR News. "Complications from the clots and bleeds related to the virus made that impossible."
He and Denise have two sons, 14-year-old Patrick and 11-year-old Ethan, who did not get to see their dad in-person before he died, according to Denise's Facebook post. She was able to spend the last few days of his life in the hospital with him.
"I know he suffered so much these last 2 months, and am thankful to the hospital for allowing me to be with him these last few days of his time here," Denise wrote on her Facebook page. "I was truly the only visitor among the building of scrub-wearing staff walking on those units."
UCHealth, where Kaplan was treated, was the first in Colorado to treat patients with COVID-19 plasma. The hospital system has treated more than 70 patients at 7 hospitals and is now participating in a clinical trial to study the outcomes of patients who received the treatment.
"The community rallied when he needed them the most, and they need to know that donating convalescent plasma is still very much needed," Denise said. "We were not told who his donor was, but would like to know, and would like to thank them! The plasma allowed him to give the kids and I two plus weeks to talk to him, and see him again, which gave us some closure."