Mark McCormick | Interim CEO
Dunes Surgical Hospital
Dunes, South Dakota
When Mark McCormick started feeling ill, he didn’t anticipate the journey he had ahead of him. Living in New Jersey, he was very close to the epicenter of Coronavirus in the US, but did not suspect his symptoms were related to the virus until his 90-year old mother commented on him sounding ill.
The following day, he woke up “burning hot” but had no thermometer and had no luck finding one available for purchase in his area. A day later, chills, aches and malaise had set in, so he went for testing.
On March 20, Mark tested positive for COVID-19. For the next 10 days. He was unable to get out of bed. “[I] didn't even want to get out of bed to lay on the couch to watch TV,” he told Sioux City Journal. Finally, on March 28, his fever broke and his symptoms began to improve.
Meanwhile, one of USPI’s surgical hospitals in South Dakota had been without a CEO since December. “It turns out that a pandemic, and in the middle of a South Dakota winter, is not necessarily the best time to be recruiting for a CEO,” McCormick later said. He received a phone call asking if he was up for a new challenge in South Dakota. Having recovered from the virus, 26 hours after the call, he donned a mask, stepped onto a plane, and headed towards a new journey as an interim CEO.
The hospital is located within 15 miles of some of the country’s largest meat processing plants, which have had significant outbreaks of the virus. Upon his arrival, Mark went to a local medspa to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. He was the first at this facility to test positive for both antibodies, meaning his blood could be medically useful for those infected with COVID-19.
Mark set up an appointment and has committed to donating his convalescent plasma. Rich with antibodies, each blood donation can treat up to four people. “I’m really glad to do it, and hoping that I can help some patients in this area,” he said.
Pictured: Mark McCormick donates plasma at LifeServe Blood Center in Sioux City, as a nurse monitors equipment.