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Man whose wife sued for ivermectin treatment dies following COVID-19 fight

Officials at the hospital where Jeffrey Smith was staying refused to treat him with the drug, which prompted a lawsuit from his wife.

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A man whose wife sued for her husband to receive ivermectin treatment has died following a lengthy battle with COVID-19.

Jeffrey Smith, 51, of Cincinnati, had been in an intensive care unit for months.

He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 9. He was admitted into the hospital six days later and has been on a ventilator for several weeks.

He died Sept. 25, sister station WLWT confirmed.

Video above: Judge denies request for Ohio hospital to treat COVID-19 patient with ivermectin

Smith's case made national headlines, as his wife, Julie Smith, wanted him to be treated with the controversial experimental drug ivermectin.

Ivermectin is mainly used in the United States to treat or prevent parasites in animals. It has also been used to treat humans, approved by the FDA to treat people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against using ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, saying it's not an anti-viral drug and could be dangerous when not used properly.

Julie Smith wanted her husband to be treated with ivermectin. She said despite her husband being treated with Remdesivir, steroids and plasma, his condition continued to decline. She said she read articles in other cases where COVID-19 patients' conditions reportedly improved after being given ivermectin.

The Smiths received a prescription for ivermectin from Dr. Fred Wagshul, a pulmonologist.

But officials at the hospital where Jeffrey Smith was staying refused to treat him with the drug.

That prompted a lawsuit from Julie Smith, who got a temporary order directing doctors to administer the drug, but that order only lasted 14 days.

A judge later denied a preliminary injunction request, saying while it is impossible not to feel sympathetic toward the patient and his family, the court made the decision in accordance with Ohio law.

"While the case at bar has emotion to it, the following decision will be strictly based upon the standards of law on a preliminary injunction case," the ruling stated. "As such, public policy would not favor the granting of the injunction by clear and convincing evidence."

Oster detailed in his ruling that while the court is sympathetic toward the Smiths, "public policy should not and does not support allowing a physician to try 'any' type of treatment on human beings. Rather, public policy supports the safe and effected development of medications and medical practices. A clinical trial would be one such method of a developmental process. However, a clinical trial is not at issue in this case."

Oster went on to say that no strong evidence by any study has shown that ivermectin should be recommended for a COVID-19 patient and based on current evidence, the drug is not an effective treatment. Oster said that even Wagshul could not say that continued use would benefit Smith.

Oster said Smith could be safely moved to a hospital where Wagshul had privileges if continued use of ivermectin was desired.