An Ohio man with COVID-19 whose wife sued to force a local hospital to treat him with ivermectin has died, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Jeffrey Smith, 51, died Sept. 25, his lawyer Jonathan Davidson told the Enquirer.
Services were held Sept. 30.
Smith was diagnosed with COVID-19 in July and died in the intensive care unit at West Chester Hospital, the Enquirer reported.
Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug that federal regulators and health officials have warned against for use in COVID patients. But people infected with the virus and their families have filed suits in eight other states with mixed results, according to Covering COVID-19, a daily newsletter from the Poynter Institute.
In August, Common Pleas Judge Gregory Howard had ordered West Chester Hospital to treat Smith with ivermectin, the Enquirer reported. His wife, Julie, asked the court Aug. 20 for an emergency order to use the drug.
When the hospital pushed back, another judge, Michael Oster, ruled in September the hospital wasn’t required to give Smith the drug, noting the lack of evidence showing ivermectin was likely to succeed in treating COVID, court records show, the news outlet reported.
Ivermectin is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use against the novel coronavirus. The drug is approved for use against some parasitic worms, head lice, and some skin conditions.
Smith tested positive for COVID-19 July 9, and was admitted to the intensive care unit July 15. He was put on the hospital's COVID protocol of the antiviral drug remdesivir along with plasma and steroids. On July 27, "after a period of relative stability," Smith's condition began to decline and he was placed on a ventilator Aug. 1, the news outlet reported.
"My husband is on death's doorstep; he has no other options," his wife wrote in her affidavit to the court, adding at another point that her husband's chances of survival had "dropped to less than 30%," the Enquirer reported.
Howard gave the go-ahead Aug. 23 for Smith to get 30 milligrams of ivermectin daily for three weeks, as requested by his wife and over the objections of the hospital. Fourteen days later Oster ruled the hospital couldn't be forced to continue the 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 a physician to try ‘any’ type of treatment on human beings," Oster said in his court order, The Hill reported at the time.
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