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Appeals court denies request to use unproven COVID treatment

A box and container of ivermectin arranged in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Americans against taking ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug, as treatment or prevention against Covid-19.
Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A box and container of ivermectin arranged in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Americans against taking ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug, as treatment or prevention against Covid-19.

The Michigan Court of Appeals has refused to order an Ann Arbor hospital to use a de-worming drug as treatment for an elderly COVID-19 patient. That is despite the wish of his daughter Alanna Frey, who sued Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in an effort to force medical staff to administer ivermectin.

The prescribing doctor is not employed by the hospital and, according to the decision, has never actually seen the patient. The judges on the appeals court panel ruled against the daughter for several reasons.

For one thing, the judges said it’s not their job to second-guess doctors following accepted medical protocols.

“The role of the courts is not to overrule the medical judgment of the treating physicians and the policies of the treating hospital. Consequently, the public interest is best served by permitting physicians and hospitals to follow established procedures and use their professional judgment to determine appropriate medical treatment,” the ruling said.

And that was the right call, said hospital spokesman Kevin DiCola in this statement:

“We sympathize with the family and all those dealing with the effects of this terrible disease. We understand the desire to try to do everything possible to help a sick loved one. However, we are grateful for what we believe is the correct decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals in this case. We at St. Joe’s follow the recommendations of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the CDC, and prevailing standards of practice in our treatment of COVID-19 patients. Ivermectin is not recognized by legitimate medical authorities as a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 and is, therefore, not part of our treatment guidelines at St. Joe’s.”

The attorney for Alanna Frey did not immediately respond to request for comment left with his office. Because the of the stakes involved, the case was placed on a fast track, and the daughter could appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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