By Kimberly Davis

VOORHEES, N.J. (CBS) — It’s a major milestone for Virtua Voorhees Hospital. Doctors say they’ve successfully treated the first two patients in New Jersey who received plasma from other people who had COVID-19.

With more experimental treatments available for coronavirus patients, some South Jersey residents participated in the first convalescent plasma transfusions.

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Their families say it may be what kept their loved ones alive.

“At first, it wasn’t a match plasma. My dad had never gotten any transfusions before so they said it might be OK,” said Patrick Fei, whose dad had COVID-19.

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Two patients ended up in Virtua Voorhees Hospital after their health started deteriorating due to coronavirus complications.

Patrick and Eric Fei say their 61-year-old father, Andy Fei, was on a ventilator for more than two weeks.

Credit: CBS3

“We have the pulse oximeter numbers and I told him it was 93 and at that point, he said, ‘OK, take him to the hospital immediately,'” Eric Fei said.

Sixty-three-year-old Renee Bannister was also clinging for her life on a ventilator. Her husband, Greg, spoke with CBS3.

“They’re telling us almost be prepared she’s not going to make it through the night, and more than once,” Greg Bannister said.

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Credit: CBS3

The Virtua Health doctors tasked with saving the South Jersey residents say their conditions started to improve after joining in on the Mayo Clinic’s plasma study.

“We managed to take the plasma from a recovered family member and transfuse it into my patient. And then my patient’s condition began to improve within 24 to 48 hours,” Dr. Lukasz Polisiakiewicz said.

With the help of the American Red Cross, Renee Bannister, the first plasma transfusion patient in New Jersey, began to recover. Her niece was a perfect match.

Andy Fei’s family was hopeful he would have the same results.

“You saw dramatic improvements in his oxygenation, as well as his chest X-rays, so it was quite a miraculous feat,” Dr. Eric Sztejman said.

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Renee and Andy are expected to return home in May.

“We had a conversation at 6 a.m. I immediately woke up. He was still pretty raspy but probably the best phone call I ever received in my life,” Patrick Fei said.

“He thought he was in the Virgin Islands! He had some crazy dreams, that’s for sure,” Eric Fei said.

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Andy Fei may not be in the Virgin Islands, but his family is certainly happy he’s alive.