Judge Rules Hospital Can Stop Using Ivermectin

An earlier order required its use for a COVID patient in the ICU
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2021 10:45 AM CDT
Judge: No, Hospital Doesn't Have to Use Ivermectin
This file photo shows a container of veterinary ivermectin.   (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

An unusual medical and legal case involving the controversial drug ivermectin appears to be over in Ohio. A judge ruled on Monday that a hospital can stop administering it to a 51-year-old COVID patient in its ICU, reports NBC News. Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster Jr. wrote that the medical and scientific communities don't consider ivermectin—most often used as a dewormer for animals—to be an effective COVID treatment. His ruling reverses an order from two weeks ago requiring West Chester Hospital to use the drug to treat Jeffrey Smith, who was admitted to the hospital's ICU in July.

Smith's wife had sued the hospital to demand the drug be used, and while she won the initial judgment, Monday's order means the hospital can stop administering it after 13 days of treatment. "While this court is sympathetic to the plaintiff and understands the idea of wanting to do anything to help her loved one, public policy should not and does not support allowing physicians to try 'any' type of treatment on human beings," wrote the judge. An appeal is unlikely, reports the Ohio Capital Journal, but Julie Smith's attorney is declaring victory nonetheless because they won nearly two weeks of treatment. "Julie has won this case; I don't care what this judge says," says Ralph Lorigo. "We are believers he's going to survive because of ivermectin."

When her husband's condition deteriorated, Julie Smith enlisted the help of Dr. Fred Wagshul of Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, who prescribed ivermectin without consulting any of Jeffrey Smith's doctors at the hospital. The judge wrote that Wagshul couldn't say for sure that the drug had helped Smith, only that he "seems" to have improved. "Everyone involved wants Jeff Smith to get better," wrote the judge, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Simply stated, there are no bad actors in this case. Just the bad of a worldwide pandemic." (In addition to health agencies, the largest doctors group in the US says ivermectin shouldn't be used.)

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