CHICAGO — A Norwood Park hospital is receiving hundreds of phone calls and emails, pressuring doctors to provide a patient with a controversial and unproven medicine to treat COVID-19. 

The barrage of phone calls and emails comes as followers of the conspiracy group QAnon demand AMITA Resurrection Medical Center on the Northwest Side treat a fellow supporter hospitalized with COVID-19 with ivermectin.  

Animal formulations of the drug are approved to treat parasites in livestock and ivermectin tablets at specific doses are used to treat parasitic worms in humans. But outside of clinical trials, federal regulators, the American Medical Association and the maker of the drug are warning people not to take the medication to fight COVID-19.  

During a Facebook Q & A session, Chicago’s top doctor echoed those concerns.

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“First and foremost, do not ever, please, take any medicine that is formulated for animals,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “It’s dangerous and it can really be a problem. There are some trials that are going on looking at ivermectin, just like there have been trials looking at other medications. We don’t have any evidence at this point, certainly, that it does anything to prevent Covid, just to be really clear about that.” 

Across the country, some people have sued hospitals to get ivermectin treatment. After a judge ordered Edward-Elmhurst hospital to allow a female patient to receive the medication, the family posed online that she improved. 

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A spokesperson for AMITA says the health and safety of patients is their first priority in an emailed statement: 

“Our physicians and clinicians follow the full guidance of the FDA and the CDC in the treatment of COVID-19. While AMITA Health Resurrection Medical Center has received hundreds of phone calls and emails associated with one patient’s care, we have simply and respectfully noted the concerns shared.” 

Statement from a spokesperson with AMITA Resurrection Medical Center

“I am a little surprised, I guess, that there are people who want to take a veterinary medicine that is not FDA approved,” says Arwady, “but don’t want to take a vaccine that has had really widespread human trials and is approved.” 

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