Studies have show that Ivermectin is ineffective in the treatment of COVID. Despite this fact, trial court judges continue to issue orders requiring hospitals to grant emergency privileges to non-medical staff physicians to treat COVID patients with this medication. 

Trial court judges are placed in an awkward position because the petitioning attorney, often times without prior notice to the hospital, runs to court claiming that his COVID patient client will die if Ivermectin is not immediately administered. Most hospitals have adopted policies which prohibit the use of Ivermectin in these cases. In addition, hospitals have very detailed policies and procedures which they are legally obligated to follow when granting medical staff membership and clinical privileges to a physician. 

In one Illinois case, the trial court judge ordered the hospital to grant emergency privileges to a physician to treat a COVID patient with Ivermectin who was not on the medical staff, had not treated an in-patient in over 5 years and had not received a required COVID vaccination as required by policy and an Executive Order issued for all hospitals by Governor Pritzker. Despite the fact that the hospital pointed these issues out to the court, along with how such an order would force the hospital to be in violation of its bylaws, state and federal laws and accreditation standards, the court affirmed its initial ruling to grant emergency privileges.

Although this hospital, along with a number of hospitals around the country have appealed these orders, by the time the appeal is briefed and a decision is rendered, the patient has been discharged making the dispute moot. 

That said, there is a growing body of appellate court decisions, including the decision rendered in this case, which have recognized that judges are ill-equipped to second guess the medical judgment of physicians and hospital policies which prohibit the use of Ivermectin and similar ineffective medications in the treatment of COVID patients. 

Lessons Learned

- Hospitals should review and rely on these court decisions in anticipation of emergency requests to use Ivermectin in COVID cases. 

- Be prepared to cite to applicable medical staff bylaws and related policies which would be violated if ordered to grant emergency privileges to a non-medical staff member or even to an existing member

- Be prepared to cite to the applicable Medicare Conditions of Participation, state laws and accreditation standards which also will be violated

- Be prepared to cite to studies which have concluded that Ivermectin is ineffective in the treatment of COVID patients and, in some instances, has caused patient injury.