Wednesday, June 12, 2024

ARGENTINA | 15-01-2021 18:25

Covid patient who took chlorine dioxide dies in hospital

Outrage after judge compels private clinic to administer chlorine dioxide to 92-year-old coronavirus patient in a case medical doctors labelled "a scandal."

A patient infected with Covid-19 died this week, days after a local judge sparked outrage by ordering a private clinic in the capital to administer chlorine dioxide.

Oscar Jorge García Rúa died at the Sanatorio Otamendi y Miroli on Monday, the same place where he was given the substance, which is commonly used as a disinfectant. 

The death of the 92-year-old sparked outrage amongst medical experts who have described the case as "judicial aberration and a scandal".

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies warn that chlorine dioxide, often touted as a "miracle cure" online, can be hazardous to human health if consumed. Argentina's own equivalent, ANMAT, also rejects the treatment.

The stepson of the deceased patient brought a legal bid last Thursday, the day after his mother died of Covid-19, asking that the compound to be given to her critically-ill husband.

Federal Judge Javier Pico Terrero granted the request the same day and ordered the Otamendi y Miroli clinic in Buenos Aires to administer the substance, prescribed by the patient's doctor, Dante Converti.

The clinic unsuccessfully appealed against the ruling, and gave the man the substance while stressing it would not bear responsibility for any negative outcome.

The FDA has warned that consumption of chlorine dioxide products, some of which are sold online as miracle cures can "jeopardise a person's health" have no proven effectiveness against Covid-19, and have been known to cause respiratory failure and liver failure among other ill effects.

The Pan American Health Organisation, the Argentine Society of Infectology and the country's National Administration of Drugs, Foods and Medical Devices have also issued warnings against the use of chlorine products to treat Covid-19.

The judge ruled that giving the treatment threatened no "serious harm" to the clinic, but could, conversely, "avoid the worsening" of the patient's condition.

Medical doctors have lambasted the decision.

"For a judge to decide that a doctor has to administer a substance for which there is no scientific evidence is really worrying, especially when it is in intravenous form," said Omar Sued, president of the Argentine Society of Infectology. "It is not the decision of a judge to administer a medication he does not know to a patient. It is not his role."

Ignacio Maglio, a lawyer for the Argentinian health NGO Fundación Huésped, said the case amounted to judicial overreach, a "judicial aberration and a scandal".

Chlorine dioxide is used to disinfect medical and laboratory equipment, to treat water at low concentrations, or as a bleach.

— Times/AFP


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