Mayo Patient’s Family Begs Judge to Allow ‘Fighting Chance’ With Ivermectin

By Nanette Holt
Nanette Holt
Nanette Holt
Nanette covers a wide range of issues, mostly in Georgia and her home state of Florida. She started as a journalist in a competitive, daily-newspaper market, and later launched a community newspaper in a geographic area ignored by other media. She spent many years writing and editing for a variety of national and international magazines, and has been hired to coach best-selling authors for book publishers. When she’s not chasing news, Nanette enjoys cattle ranch life with her husband, three children, and far too many horses, goats, cats, and dogs.
December 30, 2021 Updated: January 18, 2022

A mother and son filed a lawsuit in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Court Wednesday against Mayo Clinic Florida, asking a judge to compel the hospital to give ivermectin and other treatments to their loved one now on “death’s doorstep.”

The hospital has denied the family’s request to try alternative treatments for COVID-19 that have been prescribed by an outside doctor. At the time of publication, Mayo Clinic had not responded to repeated requests for comment.

Without the treatments he has prescribed, the once-happy, active grandfather of two will surely die, says Dr. Eduardo Balbona of The Art of Medicine practice in Jacksonville.

He said he reviewed the record of what the hospital was doing for 70-year-old Daniel Pisano.

“I said, ‘This can’t be right!’ They’re literally doing nothing. I mean, literally, they’re just sedating him and keeping him on the vent,” a clearly frustrated Balbona said Thursday as he awaited word on whether a judge had been appointed to take the case.

Balbona graduated from the Medical College of Georgia and completed specialty training in internal medicine at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He served as a naval officer and physician at the U.S. Capitol’s Office of the Attending Physician, providing medical care to members of Congress.

“I’ve seen his labs; I’ve seen his blood-gases. I’ve seen what’s going on,” Balbona said of Pisano. “Someone needs to care for this man! Unfortunately, the status quos—the current CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines—are to do nothing until you’re in critical condition and then they put you on a ventilator and do nothing. That’s just not reasonable care!”

“I’m aghast. He needs help! And the tragedy is that the hospital feels it’s their responsibility to interfere with that. I have no good explanation for that. I have no moral explanation for that.”

Epoch Times Photo
The Pisano family is seeking a court’s help in forcing Mayo Clinic’s hospital in Jacksonville, Florida to give ivermectin and other alternative treatments for COVID-19. Shown here is the Mayo Clinic logo on the hospital system’s Minneapolis facility on June 24, 2018. (Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons)

Balbona has provided Mayo Clinic with medical treatment orders for Pisano, including “ventilator support” with the “goal of expedited extubation as soon as possible.”

He’s also ordered continued monitoring of his blood work, along with administration of ivermectin, anti-inflammatory medications, and aspirin and other drugs to prevent blood clots. He also wants Pisano to receive daily doses of Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Zinc, and Melatonin.

Balbona says the Mayo Clinic has refused all of it.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned against using ivermectin to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. The agency says people have been hospitalized after self-medicating with a form of ivermectin used to treat livestock for parasites, and that large doses can be fatal. Ivermectin has been prescribed as an anti-viral and anti-parasitic for human use for decades and its creator won a Nobel Prize in 2015.

The protocol Balbona recommends was developed by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), which has come under attack for touting alternatives for the treatment and prevention of the infection.

The organization outlines what it calls the Prevention & Early Outpatient Treatment Protocol for COVID-19  both for early or preventative use against COVID-19, and for use in more serious cases of hospitalized patients.

“Both are physiologic-based combination treatment regimens developed by leaders in critical care medicine,” said Joyce Kamen, FLCCC vice-president of public information. “All component medicines are FDA-approved, inexpensive, readily available and have been used for decades with well-established safety profiles. In October 2020, we added ivermectin as a core medication in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.”

The FLCCC website lists scientific studies of ivermectin use in treating COVID-19 and provides documents listing in layman’s terms exactly how to use ivermectin, vitamins, and other supplements and drugs to prevent and treat COVID-19.

“Please do not consider these protocols as personal medical advice, but as a recommendation for use by professional providers,” Klamen added. “Consult with your doctor, share the information on this website and discuss with her or him.”

Balbona believes the treatment may still be able to save Daniel Pisano if a judge acts fast and orders the hospital to administer what he has recommended.

“In my experience, even patients who are very critically ill, when they put them on FLCCC protocol, within 72 hours, [the improvement is] remarkable,” Balbona said.

“And they could come out with a study tomorrow that says, ‘No, it’s not true. It doesn’t work,’ and I wouldn’t believe it. Because my experience is such that I’ve had dozens and dozens of critically ill patients who have responded in front of my eyes. I don’t care what anyone says anymore. I have my own experience that guides my practice.

“It’s like using penicillin. When penicillin came out, no one said we need more studies. They said, ‘It works. Let’s do more this!’

Epoch Times Photo
Chris and Lauren Pisano were elated when Chris’ parents, Daniel and Claudia, decided to move to Florida and build nearby. (Photo courtesy of Chris Pisano)

Claudia Pisano clings to hope for her husband. He fell ill as they were packing a truck to move from Indian Trail, North Carolina, to Florida so they could build a home 20 minutes from their son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.

Her husband became weak and dehydrated days later during treatment at home for what an urgent care clinic diagnosed as an ear and sinus infection, she said. They were told that they had both tested negative for COVID-19. Alarmed, Chris Pisano insisted on calling for an ambulance for his father, and he was taken to Mayo Clinic.

While in the hospital’s emergency department, the elder Pisano tested negative for COVID-19, the lawsuit says. But later that day, he tested positive, and was transferred to a floor treating COVID-positive patients.

Four days later, his prognosis was good, and doctors discussed sending him home, the lawsuit says.

But three days after that, he was transferred again, this time to the Intensive Care Unit.

That’s when his son and wife were told that Daniel Pisano “had a 5 percent chance of survival,” the lawsuit says. Four days later, he was sedated, intubated, and put on a ventilator.

He “was healthy and enjoyed spending time playing with his grandchildren, prior to contracting COVID-19 at the hospital,” Claudia Pisano is quoted as saying in the lawsuit, adding that her husband’s only notable medical condition prior to admission to the hospital was Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare autoimmune disorder he had managed for about 10 years.

“He is a loving and caring person, and is adored by all who know him, me especially. We have been happily married for 51 years,” her statement in the lawsuit continues.

“I want to follow Dr. Balbona’s recommendations, but feel that the hospital has disregarded our wishes for reasons that I cannot fathom. I know my husband better than anyone else in this world, and he would want to try additional treatment options, even if they offer only marginally better changes of survival. He is not a quitter.”

“The hospital has exhausted its treatment protocol and will not honor our right of medical decision-making. So we are forced to ask this Court to intervene.”

Epoch Times Photo
Daniel and Claudia moved to Florida in early December to be near their only two grandchildren, and fell ill on the road trip to their new state. (Photo courtesy of Chris Pisano)

The lawsuit includes references to similar cases, in which the patients’ families begged a court to force a hospital to administer ivermectin and other treatment alternatives like those the Pisanos are requesting.

In Chicago, the family of Nurije Fype fought to use ivermectin when the 68-year-old woman was comatose and all other treatments for the virus had failed. After the court intervened and Fype received ivermectin, she began to improve, FOX 32 Chicago reported.

The Buffalo News chronicled the case of 80-year-old Judith Smentkiewicz, who was declining and on a ventilator at a Williamsville, New York, hospital until her family won a state Supreme Court judge’s support. Within 48 hours of beginning treatment with ivermectin, she was off the ventilator and recovering, the news outlet reported.

Daniel Pisano had not been vaccinated for COVID-19, his son said. People with a diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome generally are advised against receiving most vaccines.

When his father’s condition worsened in the hospital, Chris Pisano began searching desperately for ways to help his father. That’s when he discovered the possibility of using alternative treatments, and enlisted the help of Balbona.

But the hospital wouldn’t consider Balbona’s recommendations. So the son hired Jacksonville attorney Nick Whitney, of the AndersonGlenn law firm. Whitney recently represented Florida parents in their fight to choose whether their children should wear masks at school.

Balbona says he believes doctors who shy away from trying COVID-19 treatments that go against recommendations by the CDC have “noble intentions.”

But the FLCCC protocol “has saved many people’s lives and I’m shocked by the resistance,” he says. And there now are too many cases of people recovering using those alternative treatments to ignore. He fears corruption from within the uppermost levels of the American medical community may be involved. The problem is how to prove and stop it, he says.

“It’s nuts. It has to be corruption, because it’s so nuts,” he said.

His frustration stems from the fact that many—if not most—treatments doctors prescribe are not well-proven with randomized studies. But when it comes to COVID-19 treatments, most doctors won’t try anything not approved by the CDC.

“The hypocrisy is overwhelming,” he said. “People are dying! A year ago, the patients who come in my office—I would have admitted them to the ICU. Now I have to treat those patients in my office, because I don’t have faith that the hospital will do anything.”

“It’s obscene,” Balbona added. “This can’t be America. This can’t be our medical system!”

Balbona says he has freedom to treat patients the way he feels best because he’s not an employee of a larger health organization.

“Now, the institutionalization of medicine is just where everyone is an employee of a corporation,” he says. “But I can say what I want, and do what I want because I’m by myself. You want to hurt me? Go try! My patients trust me and I’m doing what’s best for them.

“I’ve treated people in Boston, in New York, and California. They’ve come up from Orlando and St. Augustine. I have a young, 40-something-year-old who was thrown out of three ERs, and he came in with [oxygen saturation] in 70s, a horrible-looking CT and X-rays. He was critically ill with a heart rate in the 150s. And in 72 hours [after treatment with ivermectin], he’s fine.”

Doctors associated with the FLCCC are under attack, have been threatened with loss of their licenses to practice medicine, and at least one has been forced to resign, the organization’s spokeswoman confirmed.

“They’re saints,” Balbona said of FLCCC doctors.

“I’m doing what I feel I need to do ethically, as a physician, because these people [preventing use of alternative treatments] are letting [patients] die. It’s wrong. It is morally, ethically wrong to do nothing. We know there are things we can do.”

On Thursday, Whitney said the Pisanos’ case he filed had been accepted, and he was “in constant contact with the Clerk of Court, attempting to find out which judge will be presiding over the case.” At the time of publication, The Epoch Times learned that a 6 p.m. emergency hearing had been scheduled. There were no further details available.

Meanwhile, Daniel Pisano’s son and wife pray for a miracle. Pisano’s brother died about two months ago after a similar fight with a California hospital that refused to consider alternative COVID-19 treatments.

Epoch Times Photo
Daniel and Claudia Pisano both fell ill on their move to Florida in early December. Daniel now is fighting for his life on a ventilator. Photo courtesy of Chris Pisano

“The fact that he is still with us is my happiness right now,” Chris Pisano said of his father. “I just need to get the case before the judge ASAP, and get him the ivermectin, and get him home.”

UPDATE: At a three-hour emergency hearing Thursday evening, Judge Marianne Aho denied the Pisano family’s request for an order directing the Mayo Clinic to administer ivermectin and other medications and supplements recommended by an outside doctor they trust.

Jacksonville internist Eduardo Balbona, M.D. testified during the hearing that 70-year-old Daniel Pisano can be brought out of his medically induced coma, weaned from the ventilator, discharged from the hospital, and placed under his care, according to Pisano family attorney Nick Whitney, of the AndersonGlenn law firm. Then Dr. Balbona would be free to treat Pisano with the protocol the family is requesting.

Mayo Clinic representatives argued at the hearing that it’s questionable as to whether Pisano can survive off the ventilator, but said doctors there will evaluate, Whitney said. The Pisano family is considering whether to file an emergency appeal, but cost for the legal challenge may be an issue.

Nanette Holt
Nanette covers a wide range of issues, mostly in Georgia and her home state of Florida. She started as a journalist in a competitive, daily-newspaper market, and later launched a community newspaper in a geographic area ignored by other media. She spent many years writing and editing for a variety of national and international magazines, and has been hired to coach best-selling authors for book publishers. When she’s not chasing news, Nanette enjoys cattle ranch life with her husband, three children, and far too many horses, goats, cats, and dogs.