Thanks to a story by Dan Herbeck writing for the Buffalo News, TrialSite was able to distribute important information to a global audience: that an 80-year old patient and her family had to sue in court to ensure that the patient was given ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. TrialSite shared that a judge had to order that the Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital allow Mrs. Judith Smentkiewicz to be given ivermectin, which initially one physician had accepted. Within a day in the ICU, she started to look better and was then transferred to another wing of the hospital. There, the attending physician refused the treatment. That’s when the family made their moves in court, first hiring attorneys Ralph C. Lorigo and John F. Minear. Apparently, the daughter and son of Ms. Smenthkiewicz had uncovered information about ivermectin, including the existence of a physicians group called the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) that actively discusses the potential of the drug targeting COVID-19. The attorneys hired on behalf of Mrs. Smentkiewicz were able to rapidly compel immediate legal action via New York Supreme Court Judge Henry J. Nowak who ordered the hospital to give the patient the prescription sought after. Now the same reporter from the same local media reports that the patient actually had no idea that she was the center of intense court fight and global media attention. Unaware that she obtained the life-saving medicine via a court order, the Buffalo News reports that the 80-year old mom is back home “well on the road to recovery.” Thank goodness: each and every life saved during this pandemic is a big win.
In a recent Buffalo News interview, Mrs. Smentkiewicz shared, “I had no idea that any of this was going on,” continuing, “My son and daughter didn’t tell me the whole story until I got home.” Of course, her adult children didn’t want to burden her that the hospital and attending physician deprived her of a drug, although not approved by the FDA for this particular indication, increasingly exhibits evidence that it could be effective off label.
20% Chance of Survival & Little Memory
Now, it cannot be proven that ivermectin saved the life of Mrs. Smentkiewicz but according to Mr. Herbeck’s latest piece in the Buffalo News doctors at the hospital gave her only a 20% chance of survival. With little memory of the event, she did recall being in an ambulance on the way to the hospital on Dec. 31 as well as going on a ventilator that same day. But from Dec. 31 to Jan 4 there was no memory and she is glad for that.
Ivermectin Awareness & the Pandemic
Herbeck interviewed Mrs. Smentkiewicz to recount the experience. She did share with the journalist that she was aware that her son and daughter were insisting that the hospital doctors give her ivermectin. Although not authorized by the FDA for this indication (but is approved as an antiparasitic), over 40 clinical trials in at least four meta-analyses reveal the generic drug inhibits the SARS-CoV-2 virus and leads to a decrease in infection duration as well as in some studies a lowering death rate associated with the coronavirus.
But all apex research agencies and regulators don’t accept the data, at least in its entirety, as they declare the underlying studies, often conducted in developing world nations such as Bangladesh, India, Peru, Columbia, Mexico and Egypt, are of questionable quality.
But a well-known observational study in the U.S., published in Chest, showed considerable promise and a handful of physicians and researchers have stepped forth to analyze all of the studies around the world. Done in so-called meta-analysis, these aggregate reports indicate the drug’s promise in treating the coronavirus. One U.S.-based meta-analysis from the FLCCC was first while in the UK both Dr. Andrew Hill (affiliate with University of Liverpool and Unitaid) and Dr. Tess Lawrie have produced individual compelling reports. An anonymous group @CovidAnalysis maintains a well-documented master list of COVID-19 studies.
TrialSite has chronicled dozens of studies around the world since April 2020, including numerous interviews and reports on randomized controlled trials, observational studies and case series pointing toward material data indicating some form of positive evidence.
Why is Evidence Ignored?
That so many of us have lost loved ones to this pandemic it’s truly all the more painful that an economical and available drug could have saved more lives. With over half-a-million passed away in America alone, the coronavirus has taken nearly 2.5 million human lives worldwide.
While ambitious vaccination strategies appear again headed in the right direction with the new POTUS, key apex research agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) continue to emphasize the development of therapies for COVID-19 as vaccination alone is not enough for a comprehensive and holistic response to beat back this disease.
That there is growing evidence that ivermectin may be associated with the inhibition of COVID-19 needs to be taken very seriously by health authorities. That a State Supreme Court Justice had to order a hospital to give a patient what the family asked for signals real discord in the health system. That this same situation occurred again when State Supreme Court Justice Frank Caruso ordered a Rochester hospital to continue ivermectin treatments for another elderly patient, 65-year old Glenna Dickinson, only points to what many start to think is a concerted effort by health authorities, health systems and pharmaceutical producers to actively resist data pointing toward efficacy against SARS-CoV-2.
Home and on Way to Recovery
Now on the road to healing after a month at Harris Hill Nursing facility based in Amherst, NY, the mom is back home with her family. She declared to the Buffalo News, “I am so appreciative of my family, the lawyers, the judge, the doctors, and all these people who were praying for me and fighting for me.” She ensured, “I know I had a lot of prayer warriors on my side.”
Call to Action: People need to understand that they must become educated, aware, and empowered about their health care choices. There is a lot of money to be made and vested interests in various approaches during this pandemic. These interests can of course be very good, aligned with broader societal interests, but at times they can deviate from such broader humanistic-based ideals. When that happens, families must have as much good information as possible so that they can make the best possible, most informed choices for their loved ones. After all, family and good relationships along with our health is all we really have.