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Sometimes Amazing Grace is Just a Call Away

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Sometimes Amazing Grace is Just a Call Away

When Tom Dimas, Long Beach resident, found out that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in late December, fear started to creep over him. Within the span of a few days, his symptoms progressed from mild to somewhat worrisome and he began to panic about the possibility of being hospitalized during the surge.

Without much guidance on how to care for himself, besides staying home and monitoring for severe symptoms, Tom was at a loss on how to help his recovery. In early January, he saw a video of Dr. Drew Pinksy, a media personality, detailing his COVID-19 experience and monoclonal antibody infusion (Mab) treatment. MAb is an intravenous antibody “cocktail” used to treat mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. By helping to limit the amount of virus in the body, the patient’s symptoms improve sooner and they may be less likely to require hospitalization. Dr. Pinksy attributed the infusion to preventing him from having more serious complications.

Tom and his daughters immediately began calling hospitals throughout Southern California to find one with a MAb infusion center. He even reached out to one of the manufacturers of MAb, Eli Lilly, which gave him the names of three hospitals – all of which were out of product.

In a stroke of luck, he was then contacted by a friend, who shared the phone number for Lisa Grace, DNP, RN, CNS, CEN, the monoclonal antibody infusion program coordinator at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.

MAb therapy, which received FDA Emergency Use Authorization on November 23, 2020, was made available to patients at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center beginning December 9, 2020.

He anxiously left a voicemail for Lisa on January 14, at 4 pm. Just ten minutes later, Tom was relieved to get a callback and hear Lisa’s voice. After assessing his symptoms and risk for severe illness from COVID-19, Lisa approved Tom for the therapy and his appointment was made for 9 am the next day.

After a hopeful drive from Long Beach, and just a few hours spent in a recliner for the infusion, Tom completed his journey for MAb therapy.

“Following my infusion, Lisa called me daily for about a week for a well-being and symptom check,” said Tom. “And every time I talked to her, I called her my ‘Amazing Grace,’ because that’s what she is.”

While he had worsening symptoms the day after the infusion, his recovery quickly progressed until he soon had no symptoms at all. On March 3, 2021, Tom returned to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center to “pay it forward” by donating 2,500 surgical masks.

“I believe this infusion kept me out of the hospital,” said Tom. “It is a blessing to be back to normal life and be playing golf with no long-term symptoms of COVID-19.”

To learn more about monoclonal antibody therapy and other treatments for COVID-19, visit: