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Doctor’s fight for 93-year-old grandmother who got Covid-19

When a doctor’s 93-year-old grandmother was admitted to hospital with Covid-19, he knew there was not much that could be done to help her.

Kyjuan Brown of Northshore Medical and Aesthetic Center

Kyjuan Brown knew treatment options for people with the coronavirus were very limited.

But he was aware of a cheap, anti-parasitic drug called Ivermectin which he believed might make all the difference.

The drug is not approved to treat or prevent Covid-19 and health officials in Bermuda and abroad have warned against its use – but there has been some anecdotal evidence that it could help.

Dr Brown posted on Facebook last month how he prescribed the drug for his grandmother, Carolyn, who was suffering from pneumonia because of Covid-19.

He wrote: “At her age she should have died as a result of this disease, yet she lives.”

Dr Brown told The Royal Gazette that medics at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital would not give his grandmother the medicine because it was not part of the Bermuda Hospitals Board’s management regime for Covid-19.

So he hired Compass Law Chambers to argue for her right to have the drug of her choice and the hospital relented.

Dr Brown said: “That was a whole struggle. The law is clear. Patients have a right to choose and if a patient is unable to give informed consent then the next of kin has a right to choose.”

He added his grandmother did not need intensive care treatment and was now home and off oxygen.

Dr Brown said: “She has some challenges secondary to Covid, but she didn’t go to ICU and she’s not dead.

“The fact is that she had the standard of care in hospital plus Ivermectin.

“The other people in hospital only had the standard of care.

“She had no adverse reactions to it and she’s alive and well today, so maybe there may be some truth to this Ivermectin story.”

Dr Brown is one of a handful of doctors on the island who prescribe Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 in the absence of other options.

He said: “Patients have done tremendously well. Patients have noticed their fevers broke within 24 hours of taking the medication.”

Dr Brown added it was common for doctors to prescribe drugs in “off label” ways and that during a deadly pandemic it made sense.

He said the risks were “not severe” and he had not seen any side-effects in his patients so far.

Dr Brown said he had been vaccinated against Covid-19 and advised relatives and patients to do the same.

But he added some were not convinced and others were unable to get the jabs for medical reasons.

Dr Brown said he would prescribe Ivermectin for prevention purposes to people at high-risk from Covid-19.

He said he gave the same dose as would be given for a parasitic condition – 12 to 18 milligrams a week – and patients are also told to take immune-boosting vitamins and minerals.

Dr Brown added: “I do it for at least a month. I’m mindful to let patients know this is not a replacement for the vaccine.

“In very simple terms, it blocks the virus from replicating.

“All the patients have done well. None who have had Ivermectin have died.”

His patients are expected to sign a waiver to release Northshore from legal responsibility over the use of Ivermectin.

The waiver highlights there is “not enough scientific evidence on Ivermectin for the World Health Organisation to confirm that it is effective in the treatment or prevention of Covid“.

Bermuda Hospitals Board also requires a waiver from anyone who wants the drug.

Dr Brown said: “Ivermectin is not a panacea.”

But he added: “I will continue to use it until something becomes available that’s better.”

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