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A Very Special Patient

A CSL Plasma employee in Alabama knows what it’s like to be on the other side. When her son was a baby, he needed plasma-based medicine to fight a serious infection.

Tripp playing baseball. Tripp and mom Sondra in a pink shirt.

Sondra Hedgspeth’s work life and family life came together in a way she never expected.

Hedgspeth, a Quality Specialist at the CSL Plasma center in Birmingham, Alabama, gave birth to her son, Tripp, in June 2010. He came early, at 33 and a half weeks and weighed just 5 pounds, 1 ounce. His lungs were underdeveloped, and he spent 20 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) before coming home.

He seemed perfectly healthy until one evening. While preparing her son for his bath, she noticed a lump the size of a golf ball near his rib cage. She rushed him to her local hospital emergency room, where he underwent surgery. Doctors told her the baby had a severe infection that partially deteriorated two of his ribs.

After testing, doctors found Tripp was producing some antibodies needed to fight off infections, just not enough of them. His immunologist at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama prescribed monthly treatment with a plasma-derived therapy, first at the hospital and then at home.

Fast forward nine years later, to 2019. Hedgspeth applied for a job with CSL Plasma and got it. Today, she helps collect donated plasma that’s used to manufacture plasma-based medicines like the one her son needed.

“I feel blessed to be a part of a company that is so incredibly life-changing,” she said.