Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Court orders UPMC hospital to allow ivermectin treatment in COVID-19 case – Erie Times

Posted by M. C. on December 8, 2021

UPMC forced to by the court to provide a possible life saving option. This is due to the CDC, FDA, CARES act covid cash and the TOTAL CORRUPTION of the medical industry.

Mike Argento


A court order that permitted Keith Smith, on a ventilator in a medically induced coma from COVID-19, to be treated with the controversial drug ivermectin, was issued late Friday afternoon.

The order, in response to Darla Smith’s petition to compel the hospital to administer the drug to her husband of 24 years, was, to some, kind of confusing, and that led to two days of lawyers negotiating its implementation, frustrating Darla’s attempts to have her husband receive the drug.

The brief order denied Darla Smith’s request for an emergency injunction to force UPMC to administer ivermectin, an anti-parasitic that is not part of the medical center’s COVID-19 protocols and is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of the viral disease.

However, the following paragraph of the order directed UPMC to allow the doctor who had prescribed


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the drug or another physician or registered nurse to administer it under the doctor’s “guidance and supervision.”

The court order touched off a weekend of back and forth between the lawyers involved, Darla Smith and the hospital’s administration, ending Sunday night when Keith Smith, 52, received his first dose of ivermectin.

“I finally got some sleep last night,” Darla Smith said Monday morning.

The long weekend came at the end of what has been a long month, starting when Keith Smith was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Nov. 10.

A victory, sort of

Keith Smith, a structural engineer by trade, wasn’t feeling well, and on Nov. 10 a home COVID-19 test indicated that he was infected with the virus. Darla would not say whether he was vaccinated, citing privacy laws. Both of their sons, Carter and Zach, also tested positive, as did Darla. Their cases were mild, “like an annoying flu with a persistent low-grade fever,” Darla said.

Keith’s infection was more serious. On Nov. 19, his wife said, he began coughing up blood. She took her husband to UPMC Memorial because it was a fiveminute drive from their home in Manchester Township and “time was of the essence,” she said.

Keith Smith was put on oxygen, the machine maxed out. The hospital staff told Keith and Darla that he had to be intubated and put on a ventilator. Keith Smith “was adamant” that he didn’t want that treatment.

The next day, Keith was admitted to the intensive care unit. Darla asked the nurse practitioner who was treating Keith about ivermectin. They had consulted online with Dr. Tarik Farrag, a doctor who is affiliated with the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, a group that advocates for the use of ivermectin to treat the disease and had a prescription for the drug. The prescription hadn’t been filled, though.

The nurse practitioner told her the medical center does not use ivermectin because the science was unproven and that it wasn’t an approved treatment for COVID-19.

At 12:30 a.m. Nov. 21, the nurse practitioner called Darla and told her that Keith’s oxygen levels had plummeted and that he would have to be placed on a ventilator. She discussed it with her husband over Facetime, and Keith was intubated and placed on a ventilator.

That evening, Darla was doing research when she found an article about a lawyer in upstate New York named Ralph Lorigo who had successfully sued hospitals to administer ivermectin to patients gravely ill with COVID-19. She got in touch with him, and the lawsuit was filed just before Thanksgiving. The following Monday, York County Judge Clyde Vedder heard the case and four days later, issued his ruling.

During those four days, Darla said, Keith’s condition deteriorated. His ventilator settings had improved, she said, but his kidneys were failing, requiring dialysis. Later, she said, the doctor informed her that her husband’s liver was failing. There was little they could do. Keith was “on death’s doorstep,” Darla said.

Vedder’s Dec. 3 ruling stated that Darla’s “claim that we compel defendant, UPMC Memorial, to treat (Keith) with ivermectin is DENIED.” But he further ordered that UPMC “shall allow either Dr. Tarik Farrag, MD, or another physician or a registered nurse… , to have patient access to…Keith Smith, for the sole and limited purpose of administering ivermectin ….”

Confusion reigns

That’s where the confusion comes in. UPMC’s attorney, Thomas Chairs, questioned whether Farrag was licensed in Pennsylvania. Darla searched the state Department of State website and found that he has a temporary license to practice in the state. (Farrag practices in southern Alabama and is affiliated with an online pharmacy.)

Darla had driven to Paoli to fill the prescription, at a cost of $576. She had to find someone to administer it. State Rep. Dawn Keefer, a Dillsburg Republican, put her in touch with a husband and wife doctor team, who, in turn, put her in touch with a registered nurse who could administer the drug.

On Saturday, Dec. 4, she went to the hospital to assess her husband’s condition. His lungs were improving, but his kidneys and liver were failing. He was on blood thinners that caused some bleeding in his esophagus. His feeding tube had been turned off when he had a CT scan and ultrasound examination.

She needed to know whether his internal bleeding had stopped, whether the feeding tube had been restored and whether he was scheduled for dialysis. Darla said she couldn’t give him the drug before dialysis because it would then be filtered out of his bloodstream.

Everything fell into place, and Saturday afternoon, Darla called the RN to come to the hospital to administer the drug. She stayed on the phone with the nurse as she entered the hospital, fearing that she would meet resistance.

“I did not know what would happen,” Darla said Monday morning.

The nurse was waved in, and while she was making her way to the ICU, Darla got a call from the hospital’s vice president of medical affairs. She advised the administrator to contact her attorney. The nurse arrived at the ICU and then, in Darla’s words, “all hell broke loose.”

She and the nurse were suiting up – they had to don PPE to enter Keith’s room – when three security guards showed up to stop them. “Their demeanor was not nice,” Darla said.

What followed was about six or seven hours of phone calls. The hospital tried to argue that the judge’s order was not docketed and that, therefore, they were under no obligation to submit to it. Darla said she was doing “precisely what my attorney told me to do.” They asked about the nurse’s license.

After a while, the West Manchester Township police showed up. Darla isn’t sure who summoned them, but the hospital staff said she had to speak to the officers. She declined and the police officers, after reading the court order, determined that it was a civil matter, not a criminal one, and left, Darla said.

He gets the drug, finally

She didn’t know that a protest was stirring. A story about her husband’s situation circulated on Facebook, and some organized a protest at the hospital. She learned about the protest from Keefer.

The protest at the hospital ended at dark, and Darla went into the hospital to visit her husband. When she entered, she said she was told the ICU was on lockdown and she couldn’t visit. The hospital staff allowed her to sit in the lobby to warm up while she called her lawyer.

Finally, after Farrag and the new doctor participated in a conference call with his lawyer and hospital personnel, , UPMC relented.

Mike Argento can be reached at

Be seeing you

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