INDIANAPOLIS — A family is taking their medical battle to court in Indianapolis to demand that a mother be given a drug that's not approved for the treatment of COVID-19.
The lawsuit was filed in Marion County Circuit Court by a daughter whose mother is hospitalized at Ascension St. Vincent on 86th Street in Indianapolis. We don't know the patient's condition, but the family's attorney indicated she has been hospitalized for some time with serious symptoms. The lawsuit says a doctor has prescribed ivermectin, but Ascension St. Vincent has refused to provide the unapproved treatment for COVID-19.
"You have an obligation to provide care which is beneficial and which you believe, given your training experience, is actually beneficial as a hope or a possibility of helping and not hurting,” said Dr. Peter Schwartz, director of the Indiana University Center for Bioethics. “Therefore, they are taking a hardline, a correct hardline, to say we do not believe this will benefit you. We believe it may harm you and therefore we are perhaps compassionately saying no."
Ivermectin is used to treat parasites in animals and people. But it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
"The hospital would have an independent duty to not just fulfill the physician's prescription, but actually to exercise its own judgment as to what was the standard of care because it could be held liable should something adverse occur,” said Dr. Jody Madeira, law professor at the IU Maurer School of Law. "I am unaware of any legal basis for a court to order an off-label use of any medication over basically the objections of a treating physician and hospital. So, it almost presumes that courts would know better than everyone else, and that they would almost be super imposing themselves, their own judgment upon that of the doctor."
"It's simply not your right to have an ethical claim to any treatment you think or maybe some other doctor thinks could help you,” said Schwartz.
A court hearing is scheduled Tuesday afternoon.