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Illinois hospital will allow COVID-19 patient to get controversial drug

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An attorney for Elmhurst Hospital, in suburban Chicago, said at a court hearing Tuesday that a patient whose daughter sued to procure a controversial treatment for COVID-19 has begun to receive the medication.

The lawyer, Joseph Monahan, said an outside doctor was granted credentials to work at the hospital so he could administer ivermectin to Nurije Fype, a 68-year-old who has been in intensive care for nearly a month and is on a ventilator. She received her first dose Monday night, according to Ralph Lorigo, one of her attorneys.

Monahan said the hospital’s own doctors did not want to administer the medication, which is normally used to treat patients suffering from diseases caused by parasitic worms. The Food and Drug Administration has cautioned against its use in COVID-19 cases, saying its safety and efficacy for that application has not been established.

But some researchers and physicians say they have seen good results from the drug, and when Fype’s daughter Desareta read a news story about an upstate New York woman who recovered from COVID-19 after receiving ivermectin, she went to court to secure its use for her mother.

DuPage County Judge James Orel ordered Elmhurst Hospital not to stand in the way of Fype receiving the medication. When Fype’s own doctor was unable to administer it, Lorigo said, the legal team found another physician who had to travel “1½, 2 hours each way” but was willing to do it.

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Lorigo asked the judge to order Elmhurst Hospital to pay that doctor’s fees, along with Fype’s legal expenses and a $25,000 fine, and to allow a nurse to administer the drug instead of the doctor. Orel declined, saying the hospital had met the conditions of his order.

“The medication is being given,” he said. “That’s why this whole matter is in front of this court. You have resolved that in this court’s mind.”

Reached after Tuesday’s hearing, Desareta Fype said the drug’s effects should show up after 24 to 48 hours. The prescription is supposed to last for 10 days, or until her mother’s condition improves sufficiently, and Desareta Fype said she hopes nothing will derail that schedule.

“I’m hoping and praying the ivermectin will continue to be used until she gets better,” she said.

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