WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio —
Jeffrey Smith, 51, of Fairfield Township, has been on a ventilator at UC West Chester Hospital for 34 days battling COVID-19. While the father of three fights for his life, his wife, Julie Smith, has taken the battle to court.
At the center of it all, the controversial drug, Ivermectin.
“I know from personal experience in a number of cases that people have gone home from the hospital after Ivermectin when they were told — the family was told — that you should consider pulling life support,” said Ralph Lorigo, Julie Smith’s attorney. “No one advocates that you go to Tractor Supply and get your Ivermectin. No one advocates that on my side. What they advocate is you seek out a doctor who understands the situation,”
Lorigo said that is what Julie Smith did when she got a prescription from Dr. Fred Wagshul, a pulmonologist in Centerville.
Julie Smith also got a temporary court order which forced doctors at UC West Chester to administer the drug.
That order is good for 14 days. Friday was day 11.
Both sides headed back in court this week. Julie Smith wants doctors at UC West Chester to continue treating her husband with Ivermectin. Doctors at the hospital oppose the treatment.
“Mr. Smith was on death’s door before he received Ivermectin. Now, we have stability. Now, we have the vent setting at 50 percent,” Lorigo said.
Attorneys for the hospital claim that there has not been a notable improvement since the treatment began. They said Jeffrey Smith is not entitled to receive off-label medical treatment from an outside doctor.
“Nor is West Chester Hospital obligated to provide a highly controversial medication that is discouraged by the FDA, CDC, AMA and every credentialed, board-certified physician at the hospital,” said Charles Galvin, attorney for UC West Chester.
Judge Michael Oster is expected to file a written ruling in the next few days.
Julie Smith said up until her husband was diagnosed with COVID-19, he had been healthy. She said he was not vaccinated. She said Jeffrey’s father was hospitalized after being vaccinated, and her husband was concerned he could have the same reaction.