Elgin woman dies of COVID-19 amid family's court battle for access to ivermectin
An Elgin woman who had been on a ventilator fighting COVID-19 and whose family sought to have the controversial drug ivermectin administered to her died Wednesday.
Kane County Coroner Rob Russell confirmed that Maria Abbinanti died at Amita St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin around 2 a.m. Wednesday. She was 40 years old.
Her husband, Sebastian Abbinanti, 41, who is also battling the virus, remains hospitalized. They have three boys, ages 12, 9 and 4.
Attorney Patrick Walsh filed an emergency motion Dec. 15 in Kane County on behalf of the couple seeking ivermectin, a treatment their doctor and family members hoped could help them. But on Friday, Kane County Judge Robert Villa denied the temporary order that would have allowed access to the drug.
Walsh responded by filing an expedited appeal of the order denying the temporary restraining order. The hospital had two days to respond to the appeal, and then the court would rule within five days after that. No arguments will occur as part of this expedited appeal.
A rally was held Wednesday morning in support of the Abbinanti family and allowing the couple's physician, Dr. Sergei Lipov, to administer ivermectin.
As news of the death of Maria Abbinanti spread, tears streamed down the faces of community members, friends and family as they gathered outside Amith Health St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin.
We're trying to "make sure these kids don't become orphans," said organizer Chrissi Bretz of Geneva.
Ivermectin is a drug approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms, head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea. The Food and Drug Administration, however, has not approved or authorized the drug for use in preventing or treating COVID-19, according to FDA.gov, which also states that it has not been proven safe or effective in these cases.
A different formulation of the drug is used to treat or prevent parasites in animals as well.
"The hospital is interfering with the doctor-patient relationship and usurping Dr. Lipov's authority to prescribe care for his patient," according to Walsh's filing.
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, when the doctors attempted to write the prescription, they were told that it is against Amita Health and the hospital's policy to administer the drug for treatment of COVID-19 patients, according to a court filing.
Ivermectin was taken out of the electronic prescription system and cannot be written at all, Lipov said in the document.