Norfolk doctor seeks temporary injunction to be able to prescribe controversial COVID-19 drug at Sentara hospital

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A doctor from Eastern Virginia Medical School is suing Sentara Healthcare, arguing he should be able to use the controversial anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin on his patients.

On Friday, the Norfolk Clerk’s office confirmed to 10 On Your Side a decision on the injunction will come down next week.

Sentara Healthcare’s side of the case is Dr. Paul Marik can recommend the drug protocol that includes Ivermectin to patients, but he cannot force a hospital to provide a drug the hospital thinks is unsafe and dangerous.

That was the message from Sentara Healthcare’s attorney Jason Davis in Norfolk court on Thursday.

That was one side of the argument inside a Norfolk Circuit courtroom. Outside the courtroom, a large group gathered in support of Marik with signs urging “medical freedom” and other similar messages.

Norfolk Circuit Court Chief Judge David Lannetti is deciding whether to grant Marik a temporary injunction, so when he returns to work in Sentara Norfolk General Hospital’s intensive care unit on Saturday, he can write prescriptions for Ivermectin. The drug is used for treating other diseases and is approved for that.  

Lannetti did not make a decision Thursday, but made one point clear.

“I am not going to decide if Ivermectin is a good drug or a bad drug. I’m deciding whether the hospital can stop the doctors from providing treatment using these drugs,” he said.

The other side of the case was delivered by Marik’s attorney Fred Taylor.

“Hospitals can’t interfere in the fundamental relationship between doctor and patient and interfere with something they think is important,” Taylor said.

In closing arguments, Taylor said the doctor-patient relationship and rights should govern the decision in the case.

“We are for protecting patient-doctor rights. Giving access and information and choice and [emphasizing] relationships not with a hospital bureaucracy and not with a committee and a team,” Taylor said.

Marik said on the stand he has never written a prescription for Ivermectin but was challenged on that by a Sentara witness who said he had written one.  

Outside court, Marik told us he didn’t recall issuing a prescription for the drug.

“I never recall ever doing that. They have this big fancy committee, but these are people the FDA and CDC are captured b,y like, Big Pharma,” Marik said.

10 On Your Side asked Marik why he believes doctors should be able to come in and overrule the committees, which goes through thoughtful deliberations to determine which drugs are safe and which aren’t.

“They aren’t looking fairly at the data. They are looking at what the NIH and CDC says. If you look at the data there, [it] is extensive data,” he said.

We received a statement from Sentara Healthcare as well.

The Sentara Healthcare Committee had thorough discussions that evolved from Sentara’s first thoughts on Ivermectin in a non-endorsement capacity, to changing to recommending rejection of the drug for prescriptions at Sentara Healthcare.

The wrote to us: “Trusted agencies including the CDC, NIH, and FDA. All of these agencies currently do not recommend the use of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 due to a lack of evidence regarding its safety and efficacy,” 

The statement summed up Sentara’s stance: “Sentara generates treatment guidelines by engaging multi-disciplinary groups of clinicians to review literature, care standards and provide expert advice.” 

Two people standing to support Marik outside the courthouse Thursday were not Marik’s patients, but said they have used Ivermectin. 

Melissa Kennedy used Ivermectin. She was one of the 100 people who came to the courthouse supporting Marik.

“I took the Ivermectin that I use for my horses. I used it for my husband, myself my two daughters with no side effects at all,” Kennedy claimed.

Standing next to Kennedy was David Uhr, who came from Indiana to support Marik.

“I got it from the farm store just like she did. There was nowhere else to get it, so it’s either you wait, and wait or you take it. That was not my first alternative… I’ve probably taken it 10 times,” Uhr said. 

Lannetti said he will offer his decision soon, but could not say if it would be before Marik returns to his ICU responsibilities at Sentara. 

On Friday, the Norfolk Clerk’s office confirmed to 10 On Your Side a decision on the injunction will come down next week.

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