Keith Smith of York, Pennsylvania, died at the age of 52 on Sunday evening from COVID-19 before getting his full Ivermectin treatment. He was supposed to receive three Ivermectin doses, but treatment was paused after two doses when his lab reports showed a decline in his condition, according to a blog his wife Darla Smith has been writing to provide updates on his condition.
Early into his hospital stay, Darla asked UPMC Memorial Hospital in York to administer the Ivermectin Keith had ordered before he went into the hospital. The hospital said Ivermectin is not part of its COVID protocol and would not give it to him. Darla went to court and a judge ruled that UPMC Memorial did not have to treat Smith with Ivermectin, but it must allow a doctor or registered nurse to administer the drug under the guidance of the telehealth doctor who prescribed the Ivermectin before Keith was hospitalized.
The process of getting a court order, including waiting over the Thanksgiving holiday, delayed the opportunity for Keith to be given Ivermectin by nine days, Darla said. The treatment was started seven days before he died; 17 days after he entered the hospital. Altogether, he was in the hospital for 21 days.
Darla doesn’t know if Ivermectin would have saved Keith’s life, but she would have liked to try the drug earlier, before he was placed on a ventilator.
This story, and others like it are not as much about the effectiveness of Ivermectin, but the right of patients and families to try a treatment without a court order, when time is of the essence and they are running out of hope.
Ivermectin is approved for the treatment of parasitic diseases but has been successful in treating COVID-19 patients. Although COVID-19 treatment is considered off-label use. It is legal for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label uses.
“There is insufficient evidence for the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19,” a February report from the National Institute of Health said. “Results from adequately powered, well-designed, and well-conducted clinical trials are needed to provide more specific, evidence-based guidance on the role of Ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19.”
The Journal of Antibiotics in May published an article exploring the repurposing of approved drugs such as Ivermectin for use in COVID-19 cases.
“Considering the urgency of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, simultaneous detection of various new mutant strains and future potential re-emergence of novel coronaviruses, repurposing of approved drugs such as Ivermectin could be worthy of attention,” the paper, prepared through the Japan Antibiotics Research Association, concluded.
Another study, published in April 2020, titled “The FDA-approved drug Ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARSCoV-2 in vitro,” said “Ivermectin has antiviral action against the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) clinical isolate in vitro, with a single dose able to control viral replication within 24–48 h in our system.” The study can be found in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Proponents of Ivermectin say the sooner it is administered, the better the outcome. But the Smith family was not given that chance.
Darla Smith has nothing nice to say about the hospital administration that fought her wishes to give her husband Ivermectin early.
But she calls UPMC’s nurses “angels” who cared for Keith with compassion. UPMC Memorial Hospital did not respond to a request for comment.
In addition to his wife Darla, Keith Smith leaves behind two sons.
“I am eternally grateful that I met Keith,” Darla wrote in her blog. “He is the ying to my yang, and every horrible thing about me has always been counterbalanced with his goodness. My mom told me tonight – he made me a better person. My momma knows, and she’s right. He did. We had 24 and a half years of fun together. We rarely fought. I told the boys tonight as we gathered around Daddy’s bed, Keith and I gave them a glimpse into a true marriage, an equal partnership. We showed them what it is to completely love someone, flaws and all, and respect that person, as well. I told them that this is what I want for them both, and they should never, ever settle for anything else…My heart will always have a Keith-sized hole in it. It will never go away. I will miss him until the day I expire.”