An Ohio Judge Reverses An Earlier Order Forcing A Hospital To Administer Ivermectin

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The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are among the groups that have warned against the use of ivermectin (shown here in India) in treating COVID-19 patients.

Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

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Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto/Getty Images

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A previous ruling by a different judge had ordered the hospital, West Chester Hospital near Cincinnati, to administer the drug to a patient after his wife brought suit over the hospital’s refusal to administer a prescription written by an outside doctor.

«After considering all of the evidence presented in this case, there can be no doubt that the medical and scientific communities do not support the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19,» Judge Michael A. Oster wrote in the new ruling, issued Monday.

Ivermectin is used in humans to treat parasites like lice and the worms that cause river blindness. It is also approved by the FDA for similar use in animals, including as a livestock dewormer and a heartworm preventative for dogs and cats.

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But the FDA, CDC and American Medical Association have all warned against using ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment until additional clinical trials can be completed. The National Institutes of Health, which has not issued a formal recommendation, says most existing studies about the drug’s ability to fight COVID «had incomplete information and significant methodological limitations.»

At the center of the lawsuit affected by Monday’s order is Jeffrey Smith, who tested positive for COVID-19 in July, court records say.

After being admitted to West Chester Hospital near Cincinnati, Smith’s condition deteriorated steadily: In mid-July, he was transferred to the ICU. On Aug. 1, he was placed on a ventilator. By Aug. 20, doctors put him in a medically induced coma.

His wife, Julie Smith, contacted Dr. Fred Wagshul, a doctor affiliated with the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, which has lobbied for the use of ivermectin in COVID patients. He is not board certified and has not worked at a hospital in 10 years, according to his own testimony.

Wagshul provided a prescription for ivermectin, doing so without having seen Smith and despite lacking medical privileges at West Chester Hospital, court records state.

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The hospital refused to administer the drug, saying it would interfere with other medications.

When Julie Smith filed suit, a different judge granted an emergency injunction on Aug. 23 that ordered West Chester Hospital to begin administering 30 milligrams daily for 21 days. The Smiths’ lawyers say that his condition has since improved.

But in another hearing late last week, doctors from West Chester Hospital told the court that ivermectin had not helped their patient. Wagshul, testifying on behalf of the Smiths, did not convince the judge otherwise.

«Plaintiff’s own witness … testified that ‘I honestly don’t know’ if continued use of ivermectin will benefit Jeff Smith,» Oster wrote in the ruling.

«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 a physician to try ‘any’ type of treatment on human beings,» the judge wrote.

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