An Oklahoma doctor said overdoses of ivermectin, a pest control drug, which many believe without evidence can prevent or cure Covid-19, are helping to cause delays and problems for rural hospitals and departments. ambulances struggling to cope with the resurgent pandemic.
Ivermectin is used to kill internal and external parasites in farm animals and, in smaller doses, in humans.
“The [emergency rooms] are so supported that gunshot victims have found it difficult to get to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated.
“The ambulances are stuck in the hospital waiting for a bed to open to accommodate the patient and they don’t have one, that’s all. If there is no ambulance to take the call, there is no ambulance to come to the call.
McElyea told the world of Tulsa a colleague was forced to send a critically ill Covid patient to a hospital in South Dakota, three northern states.
“They were sitting in a small hospital needing to be in a [intensive care unit] for several days, and it was the closest intensive care unit available, ”he said.
Oklahoma is among the states struggling to cope with an increase in hospitalizations and deaths from the Delta virus variant. According to Johns Hopkins University, last week Oklahoma recorded more than 18,400 cases and 189 deaths. The same source puts the death toll in Oklahoma at more than 8,000, out of more than 647,000 in the United States.
The vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States are unvaccinated people. Amid opposition to vaccines and public health mandates stoked by Republican politicians, conservative media and social media disinformation, many have turned to ivermectin.
This week influential podcaster Joe Rogan, who has rejected the vaccines, announced he had tested positive for Covid and was taking ivermectin.
In Arkansas, the drugs were administered to inmates of a prison. Louisiana and Washington have issued alerts after an increase in calls to poison control centers. Some animal feed stores are running out of medicine because people are buying it in its veterinary form.
The Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention (CDC) cited a case from a man who drank an injectable form of ivermectin intended for cattle. He suffered from hallucinations, confusion, tremors and other side effects and was hospitalized for nine days.
McElyea told KFOR: “Growing up in a small town, a rural area, we have all been accidentally exposed to ivermectin at some point. So it’s something that people know about. Because of these accidental sticks, when they try to inoculate cattle, they are less afraid of them.
Authorities have tried to debunk claims that animal-strength ivermectin can fight Covid-19.
“Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm,” the United States Food and Drug Administration. warned, adding that the drug can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, delusions and death.
American medical association appealed for an “immediate end” to use of the drug, outside studies looking to determine if the drug has any utility against Covid-19, federal and state regulators tracking side effects and hospitalizations.
A panel from the National Institutes of Health found “insufficient evidence” for or against the use of the drug against Covid-19.
In Oklahoma, McElyea said, “Some people taking inappropriate doses have actually made themselves worse off than if they had caught Covid. The scariest thing I’ve heard of and seen are people who come in with vision loss.
“You must be asking yourself, ‘If I take this medicine, what will I do if something bad happens? What is your next step, what is your back-up plan? If you are planning to take any medication that could affect your health, do so with a doctor on board.
“It’s not just something you search the internet and decide if it’s the right amount.”