Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Hospital refuses to treat ICU patient with Ivermectin. Family hires a lawyer, secures a court order, and she recovers.
The Drug that Cracked Covid may be the most important article you’ll read this year. There’s a lot of information there, but at its core is the story of Judy Smetkiewicz, an active 80-year-old who lives near Buffalo, New York.
Three days before Christmas, Judy tested positive for COVID-19. A week later, an ambulance transported her to hospital. By New Year’s Eve, she was on a ventilator in ICU. Her family was advised that 80% of people in her position never recover. They were told she’d likely remain that way – sedated and unresponsive, in a facility they were barred from entering – for a month before she fully succumbed and died.
But Judy’s family was pushy. They watched a video of Pierre Kory testifying before a US Senate committee a few weeks earlier (see above). He’s an ICU doctor who has treated hundreds of COVID patients in New York City and elsewhere. In the video, he discusses Ivermectin – a safe, cheap, generic drug that has potent anti-COVID properties. This drug, he testified, is saving lives wherever it gets used.
When Judy’s family asked her ICU physician to give her Ivermectin, he refused. It hasn’t been explicitly approved by health agencies as a COVID-19 treatment, he explained, and “we don’t experiment on our patients.” Not even when they’re at death’s door, almost certain to perish anyway.
Judy’s family kept pushing. A hospital administrator finally relented, approving a single dose of Ivermectin. Less than 24 hours later, Judy no longer needed that ventilator. Shortly afterward, though, she began to decline. Her family asked for another dose of Ivermectin. The hospital refused. That’s when they hired a lawyer.
How bizarre. In the middle of a pandemic, a group of experienced, accomplished, respected physicians for whom Kory is a spokesperson say they’ve found an effective treatment. But hospitals refuse to dispense that treatment. Which compels already-traumatized families to hire lawyers.
A judge ruled in favour of Judy’s family, ordering the hospital to dispense four more doses. It refused to carry out the judge’s order. Another hearing was held. The hospital finally agreed to dispense additional doses if Judy’s family doctor wrote the prescription.
This looks, of course, like old-fashioned butt-covering. The hospital appears to have been OK with Judy dying. But not OK with using a drug off-label, even though a US government website explains this happens all the time:
Off-label prescribing is when a physician gives you a drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved to treat a condition different than your condition. This practice is legal and common. In fact, one in five prescriptions written today are for off-label use. [bold added]
After spending a month in a rehab facility, Judy returned home. Today, her granddaughter still has a grandmother.
Other families are now following this example. In late January, a judge ordered a hospital in Rochester, New York to administer Ivermectin to a 65-year-old woman in ICU. Last month, a court ordered an Illinois hospital to administer Ivermectin to a 68-year-old, COVID-stricken woman in a coma.
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