Judge denies ivermectin treatment for Elgin couple in ICU

An Elgin couple remained in an intensive care unit in Elgin battling COVID-19 on Monday, days after a Kane County judge denied a motion to allow them to receive the controversial drug ivermectin.

Attorney Patrick Walsh filed an emergency motion Dec. 15 on behalf of Elgin Maria and Sebastian Abbinanti. The couple's doctor and family members believe ivermectin, which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a COVID-19 treatment, could help them.

On Friday, Kane County Judge Robert Villa denied the temporary order that would have green-lit access to the drug.

Walsh then filed an expedited appeal. The hospital has two days to respond to the appeal, and then the court will rule within five days after that.

Meanwhile, the couple's family continues to plead with administrators at Amita Health St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin to allow their treating physician, Dr. Sergei Lipov, to administer the medication.

Ivermectin is a drug approved for human use to treat parasites, head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea. The Food and Drug Administration, however, has not authorized the drug as a COVID-19 treatment.

“We are desperately trying to keep these two alive for their children's sake,” Maria Abbinanti's aunt Maria Faso said in a phone interview Sunday.

Sebastian Abbinanti, 41, was admitted into the hospital Nov. 26. He was transferred to the ICU on Dec. 2, according to court records.

Maria Abbinanti, 40, mother of their three sons ages 4, 9 and 12, thought she was just dealing with stubborn allergies and did not go to the hospital when she began feeling sick, Faso said. She waited a few days and finally sought medical care at her family's urging. She was admitted directly into the ICU on Nov. 29.

Faso said she hired Walsh last week in desperate hopes of allowing the couple to receive ivermectin.

Walsh's filing accused the hospital of “interfering with the doctor-patient relationship and usurping Dr. Lipov's authority to prescribe care for his patient.”

In a court filing, Lipov said he had consulted with a physician working in the ICU, and both doctors agreed that it is “very reasonable to initiate this drug in view of poor prognosis” for the couple.

However, it is against Amita Health's and the hospital's policy to administer ivermectin to COVID-19 patients.

A hospital spokeswoman did not immediately return an email message seeking comment.

Walsh also said in the court papers that the family would not hold the hospital liable should the ivermectin not work or cause more harm.

In response, hospital attorney Joseph Monahan said that the court “cannot force a hospital to administer a particular medication to a specific patient nor … judicially intervene and order a hospital to violate its institutional duties, state and federal law and accreditation standards regarding patient care and physician oversight.”

Monahan also represents Edward Hospital in Naperville, which last month was ordered to allow an outside doctor to administer ivermectin to a patient there.

The patient, 71-year-old Sun Ng, left the intensive care unit five days after receiving ivermectin, but Monahan told a DuPage County judge that Ng's condition had already started to improve before he was given the drug.

• Daily Herald staff writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.

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