Judge orders Elmhurst Hospital to let patient receive unapproved COVID-19 treatment
A DuPage County judge has ordered Elmhurst Hospital to allow a 68-year-old woman fighting COVID-19 to be treated with a drug not approved for such use by the Food and Drug Administration.
Judge James Orel on Friday signed an emergency order directing the hospital to give ivermectin -- an anti-parasitic drug -- to Nurije Fype of Elmhurst, who is on a ventilator and in a coma. But doctors at the hospital don't want to comply.
On Monday, a visibly angry Orel raised his voice during a hearing on the case.
"My order was, 'Get out of the way and let the prescription be served,'" he said. "That's it."
Fype's daughter, Desareta Fype, went to court last week to get temporary guardianship of her mother and the medication order. She is willing to release the hospital from any liability if the drug harms her mother, according to court records.
Nurije Fype has COVID-19 pneumonia. She has been hospitalized since April 7.
Her daughter learned about ivermectin online and obtained a prescription from Dr. William Crevier, who has been using it for patients at Ingalls Hospital in Harvey. Crevier does not have admitting privileges at Elmhurst.
Ivermectin has been prescribed for off-label uses, including fighting lice, hookworms and scabies in humans. It is also used, with FDA approval, to prevent heartworm and eliminate parasites in some animals.
Desareta Fype's attorneys cite arguments by the Front Line COVID Critical Care Alliance that the drug has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties that help people infected with COVID-19. Crevier is listed on the site in a directory of physicians prescribing the drug for COVID-19.
The National Institutes for Health says there is insufficient data to recommend for or against giving ivermectin.
Hospital attorney Joseph Monahan said the hospital was unable to find a physician, affiliated with the hospital, willing to administer the drug. He also requested time to present evidence about the drug and Fype's status.
"If I wait for an evidentiary hearing, she may not be with us," Orel replied.
Monahan said the hospital is willing to transfer Fype to another hospital if her daughter wants to do so.
The judge asked Monahan why Elmhurst Hospital would not allow a drug with "benign" side effects to be used, especially since other treatments aren't working.
The hospital has two days to appeal the judge's ruling.
"In the meantime, I want to try to save this woman's life if it's possible," Orel said. "Get out of the way and let her have this medicine. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But at least we're trying to do something."