The latest lawsuit seeking to let a COVID-19 patient receive ivermectin against a hospital’s directives took an odd turn after the physician chosen to administer the medication allegedly acknowledged he is not vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Sun Ng, 71, who came to the U.S. from Hong Kong to celebrate his granddaughter’s first birthday, contracted a case of COVID-19 so severe that in mid-October he ended up on a ventilator at Edward Hospital in Naperville, according to a complaint filed by his daughter, Man Kwan Ng.
She said in an interview that she has a doctorate in mechanical engineering, and that after her father fell ill, she did intense research into ivermectin, reading scientific papers and consulting other sources.
“I made the conclusion that ivermectin can help my dad,” she said.
The hospital refused. Echoing the guidance of many health and medical authorities, Edward’s attorneys said in legal filings that ivermectin, a drug normally used to treat parasitic diseases, is of no help to COVID patients and could even be harmful.
DuPage County Judge Paul Fullerton nonetheless ruled last week that Dr. Alan Bain, a Chicago physician who has offered his services in other ivermectin cases, be allowed to give Ng the medication, saying the risk was minimal for a patient who “is basically on his deathbed.”
But as preparations began, court papers say, hospital administrators discovered Bain had not been vaccinated. They said allowing him to treat a patient would violate hospital policy as well as Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive order on health worker vaccinations.
The judge was unpersuaded, according to court documents. He cited an exemption in the governor’s order that allows health care workers to be admitted to hospitals if they test negative for COVID.
Kirstin Erickson, one of Ng’s attorneys, said Bain presented a negative test and was finally allowed to start the treatment Monday night, three weeks after Ng had been put on a ventilator.
Erickson was unsure if the legal battle will continue.
“(The delays) have been pretty costly to our client,” she said. “We just want our client’s father to live.”
Edward-Elmhurst Health, the hospital’s parent company, declined to comment due to patient privacy regulations. Reached by phone, Bain also declined to comment.
Man Kwan Ng said Bain’s professional knowledge was her only concern, not his vaccination status.
Lawsuits over ivermectin have become common as the medication’s advocates square off against hospitals that say it doesn’t work against COVID. Locally, courtroom results have varied.
In May, a woman won a similar lawsuit filed on her mother’s behalf against Elmhurst Hospital. But in September, a plaintiff who initially beat Advocate Condell Medical Center in court ended up dropping the case after the hospital said her mother responded poorly to the medication.
Meanwhile, ivermectin’s profile continues to grow as celebrities such as Joe Rogan and Aaron Rodgers say they’ve taken it to treat their own COVID symptoms despite the advice of the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and numerous medical groups that say there’s scant evidence it works against the coronavirus.
Dozens of clinical trials into the drug’s efficacy against COVID-19 are still underway.