Coronavirus: Ohio man at center of legal battle over ivermectin treatment for COVID-19 dies

An Ohio man whose wife sued to force a hospital to administer ivermectin to him as he battled COVID-19 has died, according to multiple reports.

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Jeffrey Smith’s attorney, Jonathan Davidson, on Monday told WXIX-TV that his client died on Sept. 25. Smith had been hospitalized in the intensive care unit at West Chester Hospital in July after testing positive for COVID-19.

Jeffrey Smith’s wife, Julie Smith, sued the hospital in August, after her husband was placed on a ventilator, to force it to administer ivermectin as prescribed by his physician, Dr. Fred Wagshul. The doctor is a founding physician of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, a group which champions the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, according to WBNS-TV and the Ohio Capital Journal.

>> Related: Coronavirus: Ohio judge orders hospital to administer ivermectin to COVID-19 patient

A judge initially ordered West Chester Hospital to administer the drug to Jeffrey Smith. However, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster reversed the order 13 days later, noting that Wagshul “prescribed the medication without having seen Jeff Smith and does not have privileges at West Chester Hospital.”

Ivermectin is not an approved anti-viral medication. It is typically used to treat animals for parasites, although smaller dosages can be prescribed for human use. Court records show the drug prescribed to Jeffrey Smith by Wagshul was meant for human use.

>> Related: Ohio judge reverses order requiring hospital to treat COVID-19 patient with ivermectin

In a ruling issued Sept. 6, Oster emphasized that his judgment was not meant to determine the effectiveness of using ivermectin to treat COVID-19.

“However, based upon the evidence, it has not been shown to be effective at this juncture,” he wrote. “The studies that tend to give support to ivermectin have had inconsistent results, limitations to the studies, were open label studies, were of low quality or low certainty, included small sample sizes, various dosing regiments, or have been so riddled with issues that the study was withdrawn.”

>> Related: Coronavirus: Health officials warn against using livestock drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19

The Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the American Pharmacists Association and several other public health groups have urged people not to take ivermectin to treat COVID-19, citing the overdose risk posed by self-medication and the fact that the drug has not undergone a clinical trial to determine its effectiveness against COVID-19.

Health officials have urged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to best protect against the viral infection. Research has shown that vaccinated people can still spread the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus, the most common one in the U.S., although officials said the vaccines protect well against serious or life-threatening cases of COVID-19.

>> Related: Study: Pfizer effective against hospitalization; declines against getting infection

As of Tuesday, 43.8 million COVID-19 cases have been reported across the U.S., resulting in more than 703,000 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, more than 235.5 million COVID-19 cases have been reported, resulting in 4.8 million deaths, according to the university.

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