Courts weigh in on Ivermectin and Covid-19

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By Marie E. Matyjaszek

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be divisive across the world in several areas – health care, personal freedom, and of course, politics. Relationships between vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations have become particularly tense, with each side holding their ground.  Treatments for COVID-19 vary, and like many illnesses, a mix of natural and traditional medicine has been experimented with. 

In our neighboring state of Ohio, Jeffrey Smith contracted COVID-19 mid-summer of 2021 and was placed on a ventilator. When Jeffrey’s condition began a steep decline, and the traditional treatments for COVID-19 failed, his wife Julie sought out Dr. Wagshul, who prescribed Ivermectin. West Chester Hospital, however, refused to administer it as it is not recommended by the FDA or CDC for treatment of COVID-19.

Julie sued to compel the hospital to administer the medicine Ivermectin, which has historically been used to de-worm livestock. It has been used to treat humans in more recent years, for lice and parasitic illnesses.

While some believe Ivermectin is a valid option in the COVID-19 battle, the CDC has reported a large increase in Ivermectin poisoning among humans.  Some animal supply stores have sold out of the drug, and with most of the store doses being appropriate for animals, not humans, it’s easy to see why it can be toxic.  It’s gotten so out of hand that the U.S. FDA’s Twitter account posted: “You are not a horse.  You are not a cow.  Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” You really can’t be clearer than that.

Despite these warnings, the court sided with Julie, and issued an order requiring the hospital to administer Ivermectin to Jeffrey. The Smith lawsuit is not the only one that has been filed to compel use of Ivermectin, with two wins for families in New York. In Illinois, a court ruled against a wife seeking to use the drug for her husband. The increasing lawsuits show the lengths to which people are willing to go to treat COVID-19.

The Hippocratic Oath has changed over the years, but the constant principle is that the medical provider will act in the patient’s best interest. When courts are mandated to weigh in, the relationship between personal autonomy and medical liability only deteriorates, in effect causing one more casualty of the pandemic.

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The author is an Attorney Referee at the Washtenaw County Friend of the Court; however, the views expressed in this column are her own. She can be reached at matyjasz@hotmail.com. 


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