An Ohio judge has reversed a court order that forced a local hospital to treat a Covid-19 patient with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin.
On Monday, Judge Michael Oster of Butler county issued an order that sided with West Chester Hospital, citing a lack of “convincing evidence” that the drug – used in small doses in humans against external parasites such as headlice, and in larger doses for animals including cows and horses – could significantly improve the patient’s condition.
The patient, Jeffrey Smith, was admitted to intensive care on 15 July. He has been on a ventilator since 1 August.
At a hearing on Thursday, Julie Smith, his wife, testified that neither she nor her husband were vaccinated against Covid-19.
“We didn’t feel confident [the vaccine] had been out long enough,” she said.
As Smith’s condition deteriorated, his wife reached out to Fred Wagshul, a physician and founder member of the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes ivermectin as a preventative treatment.
According to Oster’s order, Wagshul, who does not have medical privileges at West Chester Hospital, prescribed 21 days of the medication without having seen Jeffrey Smith.
The hospital refused to administer the medication, citing lack of FDA approval, despite Julie Smith’s request. Smith filed a lawsuit in an attempt to force the hospital to give ivermectin to her husband.
On 23 August, Butler county Judge Gregory Howard compelled West Chester Hospital to give Smith 30mg of ivermectin daily for three weeks.
Oster’s order nullified the order issued by Howard.
“Judges are not doctors or nurses,” he wrote. “We have gavels, not needles, vaccines, or other medicines.”
He added: “This court is not determining if ivermectin will ever be effective and useful as a treatment for Covid-19.
“However, based upon the evidence, it has not shown to be effective at this juncture … 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.”
Ivermectin has been touted worldwide. But in July, a major study that supported the medication as a Covid treatment was withdrawn over ethical concerns.
As reports of ivermectin use continue, the federal Food and Drug Administration warned against using animal-strength forms of the drug as a treatment for Covid-19.
“Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm,” it said, adding that the drug can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, delirium and death.