Health

Ventilated COVID Patient Gets Ivermectin After Court Order

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

A 68-year-old woman with COVID-19, who has been in intensive care in an Illinois hospital for a month, started receiving the controversial drug ivermectin (Stromectol) this week after her family sued the hospital to have someone administer it, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

Nurije Fype’s daughter, Desareta, filed suit against Elmhurst Hospital, part of Edward-Elmhurst Health, asking that her mother receive the treatment, which is approved as an antiparasitic drug but not approved for the treatment of COVID-19. Desareta Fype was granted temporary guardianship of her mother.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned against ivermectin’s use for treating COVID-19, but a high-profile group of physicians has spoken passionately in favor of it.

The FDA has published guidance titled “Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19” on its website. The National Institutes of Health said there is not enough data to recommend either for or against its use in treating COVID-19.

On Friday, DuPage County Judge James Orel ruled Fype should be allowed to get the treatment.

Three days later, according to the Daily Herald , the lawyer for the hospital, Joseph Monahan, argued the hospital could not find a hospital-affiliated doctor to administer the ivermectin.

The Herald reported the judge told the hospital to “get out of the way” and allow any board-certified doctor to administer the drug.

When Fype’s doctor was unable to administer it, the legal team found another physician, Alan Bain, DO, to do it. Monahan said Bain was granted credentials to work at the hospital so he could administer it Monday evening.

In a follow-up hearing on Tuesday, Monahan told Orel that the hospital asked 20 physicians and 19 other healthcare workers, including nurses and pharmacists, to administer the medication and they all declined, the Herald reported.    

Orel denied a request from Desareta Fype’s lawyer to order the hospital’s nurses to administer further doses. The judge also denied a request to hold the hospital in contempt of court.

According to the Herald, the judge said at the hearing Tuesday, “Now let’s hope the good Lord allows the medication to work.”

The hospital did not respond to Medscape’s request for comment on the legal case or the patient’s condition by publication time.

According to NBC5 Chicago, Desareta said Tuesday, “She looks calm, comfortable, and I’m happy with her monitor numbers so far. They are kind of stable.”

Fype’s daughter said her mother has been a patient at Elmhurst Hospital since April 7, was put on a ventilator on April 28, and is now in a coma. 

According to the Daily Herald, Desareta Fype declared in court documents that she is willing to release the hospital from liability if the drug harms her mother.

The Daily Herald also reports that Fype’s attorneys cited arguments by the Front Line COVID Critical Care Alliance that ivermectin has antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits that help people infected with COVID-19.

Ivermectin is an anthelmintic used mainly to treat roundworms, threadworms, and other parasites.

Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune, Science News and Nurse.com and was an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times. Follow her on Twitter at @mfrellick

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