A Florida man says he took a chance at the brink of death and it saved his life.
After being diagnosed with pneumonia and COVID-19, Rio Giardinieri, a 52-year-old manufacturing executive, said he went through living hell, according to KTTV.
Giardinieri said the illness threw his body into a tailspin with nine days of searing back pain. For a week, he said he was isolated in the ICU, where, though placed on oxygen, he could still hardly breathe.
Last Friday night, he said found himself on his deathbed and out of options when doctors gave him the grim news that there was nothing more they could do.
Giardinieri set to calling friends and family, telling them he would not make it. Hardest of all, he said his goodbyes to his wife and their three children.
And then a friend forwarded him an article about an old and well-known anti-malarial drug — hydroxychloroquine — that saw promising results in a study in France.
Giardinieri said he then contacted an infectious disease doctor.
“He gave me all the reasons why I would probably not want to try it because there are no trials, there’s no testing, it was not something that was approved,” Giardinieri explained.
But after explaining that he didn’t have much time left, Giardinieri said the doctor approved the drug for him and a nurse administered it 30 minutes later.
Just an hour after being placed on the medication by IV, he said his body reacted strongly, and by morning, he had no symptoms.
Giardinieri said he has since been issued several more doses and doctors hope to release him once the illness has left his system and he can no longer infect others.
“To me, there was no doubt in mind that I wouldn’t make it until morning,” Giardinieri said. “So to me the drug saved my life.”
So should these supposed “wonder” drugs or combinations thereof be issued to the general public to fight COVID-19? In short, it’s complicated.
Matthew Herper writing for STAT breaks down the responses favored by President Donald Trump and the medical team around him.
“In an emergency, like the exploding pandemic of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19,” Herper asked, “how much data should doctors require before they use a medicine?”
“[A French] study doesn’t show that patients lived longer or were more likely to recover, but instead shows that the amount of virus in the blood was reduced much faster in the patients who took hydroxychloroquine and even faster in the six patients who took the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin,” Herper wrote.
“That result is encouraging, but for patients who are not gravely ill, it doesn’t tell how to weigh the side effects of hydroxychloroquine against the potential benefits.”
Obviously, no healer wants to prescribe cures that will make already suffering patients sicker.
For patients that are on death’s door, it could make sense to offer them the option of using these drugs that have not been fully vetted as cures for COVID-19.
But it also makes sense for doctors to give patients with moderate symptoms the choice to take the drug and become part of a voluntary force to more quickly determine patient outcomes.
If this fight against the virus really is a war, a battlefield mindset could be better suited than a boardroom one.
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