Patients Can’t Force Hospitals to Administer Ivermectin for COVID, Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules
The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Tuesday decision upheld a 2022 appeals court decision against Allen Gahl, who sued Aurora Health Care in October 2021, when doctors refused to use ivermectin to treat his uncle, John Zingsheim, for COVID-19.
Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in a 6-1 decision that a hospital cannot be compelled by the courts to administer ivermectin to patients to treat COVID-19.
The decision upheld a 2022 appeals court decision against Allen Gahl, who sued Aurora Health Care in October 2021, when doctors refused to use ivermectin to treat his uncle, John Zingsheim, for COVID-19.
The appeals court ruled there was no legal basis by which a patient could compel a healthcare provider to administer a particular treatment or to credential an outside provider to do so.
Kim Mack Rosenberg, acting chief counsel for Children’s Health Defense told The Defender the narrow ruling has no bearing on the broader issues around ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
“The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision is concerning but ultimately should be treated as the narrow ruling it is,” she said, adding:
“While replete with criticisms of ivermectin, the Supreme Court’s opinion did not ultimately rule on the efficacy or appropriateness of administering ivermectin to this patient.”
Ivermectin is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is typically used to treat parasitic diseases. It is “extremely safe for use in humans,” and has general antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Ivermectin has for decades been administered to hundreds of millions of people across the world, with very few side effects.
During the pandemic, doctors working on the front lines and 93 controlled trials — 73 of them peer-reviewed and 43 of them randomized controlled trials — showed the safe and effective use of ivermectin in treating COVID-19, according to internist and critical care physician Dr. Pierre Kory.
But the press, public health officials and regulatory agencies consistently denigrated the low-cost, generic ivermectin as a “horse dewormer” — even in reports about this ruling, stoking fear around its use. They also prevented people from accessing the drug.
Kory told The Defender he thought the details of this particular case are not the major issue in the Gahl v. Aurora ruling. Instead, he pointed to the broader problem of “the underlying systemic corruption around repurposed drugs” like ivermectin.
“I see it in a much broader picture, which is that ivermectin was attacked by a global disinformation campaign executed by the pharmaceutical industry.
“They’ve been doing this for years to other drugs, and this drug threatened a worldwide market for vaccines and other antivirals in a market that’s worth over $100 billion.
“So it [ivermectin] was a grave threat and they pulled out every disinformation tactic possible.”
The industry and the press instead favored treatment with drugs such as Gilead’s remdesivir (brand name Trodelvy), which failed to demonstrate efficacy in clinical trials and has been shown to cause organ damage, and Paxlovid, which is associated with rebound infections.
Gilead made $5.6 billion in revenue in 2021, and $6.9 billion in 2022 from remdesivir. Paxlovid, launched in December 2021, produced $18.9 billion in profits for Pfizer in 2022.
The “disinformation campaign” against ivermectin creates cases like Zingsheim’s, Kory said. “Everything is unfortunate because none of it is based in fact.”
“So these doctors that refuse to give it, it’s because they’ve been misled to think that ivermectin is not effective.
“The judges who don’t want to mandate a dying patient to get it, it’s because they’re not aware that it’s effective …
“This is a direct result of the corruption of science.”
Dr. Paul E. Marik, founding member of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) and former chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School, told The Defender that the battle for access to effective treatment needs to be waged at the legislative level.
“The court’s decision this week is greatly disappointing. It is unfortunate that the case was needed in the first place, as there was no medical reason for the hospital to deny Mr. Zingsheim access to ivermectin.
“The law needs to change. Denying access to treatment should not be protected by the law.
“I am not sure the laws will change through suing hospitals. More states should follow the example of the Ohio State Legislature that is considering a bill that will protect patients’ access to repurposed medications like ivermectin.”
Patients in critical condition ‘should have access to all possible treatments’
In October 2021, Zingsheim was admitted to a hospital in the Aurora Health Care system in Wisconsin due to complications from COVID-19. He was placed on a treatment protocol that included a steroid, baricitinib and Solu-Medrol.
He declined remdesivir, according to appeals court documents.
He was eventually intubated and placed on a ventilator.
Gahl, who had power of attorney on behalf of his uncle, demanded Zingsheim be taken off the hospital’s medication protocol and requested he be treated with ivermectin.
The hospital refused.
Gahl obtained a prescription for ivermectin for his uncle from a Wisconsin physician not associated with the Aurora Health Care system.
Aurora doctors refused to administer the ivermectin, saying that it would be “below the standard of care” for COVID-19 patients, the appeals court opinion states.
Gahl sued the hospital in the Waukesha County Circuit Courts, which ultimately ordered the hospital to grant emergency privileges to an outside physician to administer the ivermectin treatment.
The hospital appealed the court’s decision to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District II, which reversed the lower court’s ruling, ruling the lower court did not have the authority to compel the hospital to allow the use of ivermectin.
Gahl’s attorneys then submitted an emergency petition to bypass the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court denied the petition on October 25, 2021.
Zingsheim later was secretly administered ivermectin. He eventually recovered.
The Amos Center for Justice & Liberty, which represented Gahl, filed a petition for a review of the Supreme Court decision, which the Wisconsin Supreme Court granted in September.
Rosenberg told The Defender the lower court’s order didn’t actually compel the hospital to administer ivermectin. She said:
“The lower court’s [Circuit Court’s] order merely created a process by which a doctor could come into the facility to administer the potentially life-saving treatment to an extremely ill patient.
“In finding that the lower court’s injunction was not properly supported, the Supreme Court narrowly held that the lower court did not adequately analyze whether the plaintiff (the nephew of the patient) had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of his claims, which is one of the required elements to support injunctive relief.”
The FLCCC and the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons submitted amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in support of the plaintiff’s arguments.
Commenting on the case and their amicus brief on the FLCCC website, Marik said:
“The FLCCC filed this brief to support Mr. Gahl’s case as we believe that patients, especially those in critical condition, should have access to all possible treatments.
“There was no medical reason for the hospital to deny Mr. Zingsheim access to ivermectin.”
The AAPS similarly told the court:
“AAPS has a strong interest in ensuring that patients have timely access to the medications they need, as prescribed by physicians, without interference by hospitals or any other corporate entity.”
The American Medical Association filed a brief asking the court to uphold the hospital’s ability to obstruct a patient’s access to such care, claiming that there is “no credible evidence that ivermectin effectively treats COVID-19, and ample evidence it does not.”
Kory said a major part of the problem is that doctors are misinformed by such institutions. “They [doctors] really believe what they’re told and what they read,” he said. “They trust in those journals and they trust in their agencies.”
“The physicians were, I would say, manipulated, by manipulating the evidence based around ivermectin, which leaves these doctors thinking it doesn’t work.
“And they believe the media, they believe the propaganda and they believe the journals.
“A well-known fact said by other experts that have studied science, is that the average doctor has no idea how captured those journals are. They have a little idea of how corrupted the science is in high-impact medical journals.
“And to me, that’s kind of the big thought in this case: in a sea of censorship and propaganda people are gonna do strange things and people are gonna get hurt.”
Kory said there were six trials published in high-impact medical journals that found ivermectin didn’t work. They were done, he said by “heavily pharmaceutical industry-conflicted investigators,” yet they are the only ones that get media attention, while the rest of the nearly 90 trials that found it worked are ignored.
He also pointed out that every media article makes the same false claims — that all the evidence supporting ivermectin is from low-quality, small trials or fraudulent trials and that the National Institutes of Health and FDA have not approved it for COVID-19.
“You see the control that the journals and the agencies have over what we use. And when they capture the journals and capture the agencies, you’re gonna get guidance that serves the pharmaceutical industry.”
Wisconsin one of dozens of similar cases
The Wisconsin lawsuit is one of dozens that have been filed across the country seeking to compel hospitals to administer ivermectin for COVID-19, many in 2021.
In one lawsuit filed in June of last year, Drs. Robert L. Apter, Mary Talley Bowden and Marik sued the FDA for launching what they alleged was a “crusade” against ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 that “unlawfully interfered” with the doctors’ ability to practice medicine.
They argued the FDA acted outside of its authority by directing the public, including health professionals and patients, to not use ivermectin — even though the drug is fully approved by the FDA for human use, The Defender reported.
In December, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas dismissed the case, ruling that the government had “sovereign immunity” and can only be sued with its consent.
The doctors plan to appeal.
In many of the cases, the families obtained prescriptions for ivermectin, but hospitals refused to administer it to their loved ones, who were often on ventilators and facing death.
Kory made a final point:
“When someone is dying on a ventilator, the risk-benefits of medicines changes because they’re dying on a ventilator.
“So to try something that potentially might help — and almost all the studies, even the corrupted studies all showed benefits, they just weren’t statistically significant — it was just a shame they weren’t willing to try a medicine that had benefits, even if maybe not proven to the extent that they wanted.
“But none of the studies showed any adverse outcomes with ivermectin.”
This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.
- The AMA is not your friend: