Update: Those interested in donating to the Mantel family's case can do so here.
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The family of a woman who died after a hospital refused to treat her with ivermectin for Covid-19 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Scott Mantel, whose wife Deborah Bucko died at Mount Sinai Hospital on May 16, 2021 from complications related to Covid-19, filed the lawsuit in September. He contends that the hospital refused to administer ivermectin, which was prescribed by her doctor. Mantell claims that the refusal contributed to her death.
According to the lawsuit, Mantel "researched possible alternative treatments, and he read several news stories about patients with severe COVID-19 illness who had been treated successfully with ivermectin."
Despite her condition initially improving after she received the drug under a court order, the hospital's subsequent decision to stop the treatment led to a rapid decline in her health, according to the complaint.
"While she was being treated with the ivermectin and immediately afterwards, Ms. Bucko’s respiratory and cardiovascular functions showed significant improvement and she required significantly less oxygen, vasopressors, and ventilator support, which was clearly demonstrated in her medical records," reads the suit. "As a result of the ivermectin, Ms. Bucko was on her way to recovery."
Mantel’s lawsuit seeks not only compensation for himself and his two children but also punitive damages against the hospital. The claim is that Mount Sinai's withholding of ivermectin after it had been prescribed constituted a breach of standard medical care, the Epoch Times reports.
Mantel's lawyer, Steven Warshawsky, says that the hospital's refusal to comply with the court-ordered treatment, particularly given the patient’s initial improvement, was against the patient's best interests and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship.
"Early on during the pandemic there were a lot of early legal actions seeking court orders requiring hospitals and doctors to treat patients with ivermectin, but here you have a situation where orders were issued and the hospital did not fully comply with them despite [the] patient showing progress of ivermectin," he said.
The controversy around the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 has been a contentious issue within the medical community. Despite this, a lawyer for the FDA confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in August 2023 that doctors are legally permitted to prescribe ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19.
"FDA explicitly recognizes that doctors do have the authority to prescribe ivermectin to treat COVID," said Ashley Cheung Honold, a Department of Justice lawyer representing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a statement to the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, who supports the use of ivermectin, has criticized pharmacists who refuse to fill such prescriptions, arguing that this oversteps their authority and impacts patient care.
"This needs to come to an end. In telling my patients what medicines they can and cannot have access to, we effectively have a large group of pharmacists practicing medicine without a license," Bowden said on Friday. "They have no accountability for this yet they are allowed to dictate patient care."
"I see it every single day. Enough is enough," she continued.
The outcome of Mantel’s lawsuit could have implications for future cases where there is a conflict between hospital policies and the treatments doctors wish to prescribe. Warshawsky hopes that a favorable ruling will set a precedent affirming the right of physicians to administer treatments they deem necessary, without undue interference from hospital administration. The hospital is expected to respond to the motion later this month.
"I am hoping to not only get a good result for Deborah and her family but certainly to lay a precedent which is that physicians cannot withhold life-saving treatments from their patients, not only in the case of ivermectin, but also with other medications that might not be standard protocol for hospitals," said Warshowsky.