MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s conservative-controlled Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a hospital could not be forced to give a deworming drug to a patient with COVID-19.
The panel ruled 6-1 in favor of Aurora Health Care, with three liberals and three conservatives in support and only conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley dissenting.
The decision upholds a lower court’s ruling against Allen Gahl, who sued Aurora in October 2021 when doctors refused to treat his uncle, John Zingsheim, with ivermectin. Gahl was authorized to make medical decisions for Zingsheim and had researched the drug online after Zingsheim was put on a ventilator to treat COVID-19 complications.
Ivermectin became popular among conservatives after commentators and even some far-right doctors held up the antiparasitic drug as a miracle cure for the coronavirus and other illnesses. But the Food and Drug Administration has not approved it for use in treating COVID-19 and warns that misusing ivermectin can be harmful, even fatal.
The Wisconsin lawsuit is one of dozens filed across the country seeking to force hospitals to administer ivermectin for COVID-19. The drug is commonly used in cattle and also approved for human use to fight parasites and certain skin conditions. But some members of online alternative medicine groups have reported self-administering highly concentrated, veterinary-grade ivermectin to treat illnesses. The FDA warns that self-administering the drug, especially in doses intended for animals, can be lethal.
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