Oklahoma hospital system denies claim of gunshot victims left to wait as staff overwhelmed with horse dewormer overdoses

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UPDATE:

Northeastern Hospital System Sequoyah has since issued the following statement:

Although Dr. Jason McElyea is not an employee of NHS Sequoyah, he is affiliated with a medical staffing group that provides coverage for our emergency room. With that said, Dr. McElyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over 2 months. NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin. This includes not treating any patients for ivermectin overdose. All patients who have visited our emergency room have received medical attention as appropriate. Our hospital has not had to turn away any patients seeking emergency care. We want to reassure our community that our staff is working hard to provide quality healthcare to all patients. We appreciate the opportunity to clarify this issue and as always, we value our community’s support.

Northeastern Hospital System Sequoyah

ORIGINAL STORY:

SOUTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA, Okla. (KFOR) – A rural Oklahoma doctor said patients who are taking the horse dewormer medication, ivermectin, to fight COVID-19 are causing emergency room and ambulance backups.

“There’s a reason you have to have a doctor to get a prescription for this stuff, because it can be dangerous,” said Dr. Jason McElyea.

Dr. McElyea said patients are packing his eastern and southeastern Oklahoma hospitals after taking ivermectin doses meant for a full-sized horse, because they believed false claims the horse dewormer could fight COVID-19.

“The ERs are so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated,” he said.

That’s something McElyea said is now backing up ambulance systems as well.

“All of their ambulances are stuck at the hospital waiting for a bed to open so they can take the patient in and they don’t have any, that’s it,” said Dr. McElyea. “If there’s no ambulance to take the call, there’s no ambulance to come to the call.”

Dr. McElyea

The doctor said many of his patients aren’t afraid of ivermectin. Many of them have used it on their livestock.

“Growing up in a small town, rural area, we’ve all accidentally been exposed to ivermectin at some time. So, it’s something people are familiar with. Because of those accidental sticks, when trying to inoculate cattle, they’re less afraid of it,” he said.

Now, the rural patients are going into their local agricultural or tractor supply store, ignoring the warning signs surrounding the products, and figuring out a dosage themselves.

“Some people taking inappropriate doses have actually put themselves in worse conditions than if they’d caught COVID,” said the doctor.

Dr. McElyea said the patients are suffering from nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and cramping, and that’s only in minor cases.

“The scariest one that I’ve heard of and seen is people coming in with vision loss,” he said.

Even the manufacturer states there is no scientific basis or meaningful evidence ivermectin is effective against COVID. However, many of the tractor supply stores say their shelves are empty.

“You have to ask yourself, ‘If I take this medicine, what am I going to do if something bad happens?’ What’s your next step, what’s your backup plan?” the doctor said. “If you’re going to take a medicine that could affect your health, do it with a doctor on board. Make those decisions with a thoroughly vetted opinion. There’s a lot of schooling that goes into that. It’s not just something you look on the internet for and decide if it’s the right dose.”

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