An Ohio man diagnosed with COVID-19 whose wife sued to force a hospital to give him the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin has died, his attorney said.
Jeffrey Smith, 51, died on Sept. 25, his attorney, Jonathan Davidson, of Hamilton, told WXIX-TV in Cincinnati.
In August, an Ohio judge ordered West Chester Hospital to treat Mr. Smith with ivermectin after his wife sued, alleging that the facility refused to give her husband the drug, despite him having a doctor’s prescription.
Since mid-July, Mr. Smith had been the intensive care unit, battling a severe case of COVID-19, according to court records. His wife and guardian, Julie Smith, argued that ivermectin — a deworming drug that some people are using to prevent or treat COVID-19, despite several public health agencies advising against it — was her husband’s last shot at survival.
But then last month, a different judge reversed that order after Mrs. Smith and the doctor who prescribed her husband the ivermectin failed to provide “convincing evidence” at a court hearing to show that the drug could significantly improve his condition.
Butler County Judge Michael A. Oster Jr. ordered the hospital to cease administering the unproven treatment, arguing that “judges are not doctors or nurses.”
Judge Oster wrote in his order that several public health organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, do not recommend the drug be used to treat COVID-19. At the moment, no studies or data analysis support said treatment for the virus, Judge Oster wrote.
“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.
“Based on the current evidence, ivermectin is not effective as a treatment for COVID-19. ... Even Plaintiff’s own doctor could not say [that] continued use of ivermectin would benefit Smith,” Judge Oster wrote in his order.
Judge Oster added: “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.”
The FDA even issued a strong and unusual warning on Aug. 21 on social media: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.”
The FDA was reacting to alarms from Mississippi, the state with the worst outbreak in the U.S., that people have been taking ivermectin — which is also used to treat parasites in some animals, including horses and livestock — to treat or prevent COVID-19.
Mrs. Smith, for her part, told the judge she believed the drug was working.
Judge Oster had said Mr. Smith could be transferred to another hospital where his doctor had medical privileges to continue with the ivermectin treatment.
The Washington Post contributed.
First Published October 4, 2021, 11:32am