It was New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2020. The world is in the midst of a devastating pandemic and many are only too eager to say goodbye to 2020 and usher in 2021. But for Judith Smentkiewicz, an 80-year old grandmother, a different kind of drama is taking place.
Just nine days prior, Judith, who had worked as an insurance company office manager for 35 years, had been diagnosed with COVID-19. On December 29 she was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Williamsville, New York. Two days later she was moved to the ICU.
“I know they put me on the ventilator that day, but I don’t remember a single thing that happened until Jan. 4, when I was taken off the ventilator and able to sit up in my bed. I’m kind of glad I don’t remember those days,” Judith said, quoted in the Buffalo News.
On that December 31, things look extremely grim. At that time, New York was averaging more than 100 deaths per day from COVID. According to her son, Michael, hospital officials told the family that Judith had a slim 20% chance of survival. Doctors at the modern 265-bed hospital said that she would probably be on the ICU’s ventilators for about a month.
Judith was sedated. The ventilator was breathing for her. The doctors said there was little more they could do. She was getting the regular “standard of care” rubber-stamped by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was on a ventilator. And for the most part, patients on ventilators did not do well.
As documented by this study, about half of COVID patients who were on ventilators died. But worse than that: for patients like Judith who were 80 years old or older, more than 84% died. So when Judith’s doctors told her family that she had only a 20% chance of surviving, they actually were probably being a little optimistic.
Michael called the doctors and says they “heard nothing but bad, bad news. Mom wasn’t getting any better. It’s going to be a long haul. She’s in bad shape. Prepare yourself,” as quoted in Mountain Home magazine.
One drug, remdesivir, the hospital DID begin giving Judith. The media hailed it as a game-changer, but most studies showed only that it reduced recovery time, NOT that it saved lives. And remdesivir was pricey, coming in at at $520 a vial, or $3120 per patient.
To quote the NIH:
Remdesivir, an antiviral agent, is currently the only drug that is approved by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19. It is recommended for use in hospitalized patients who require supplemental oxygen. However, it is not routinely recommended for patients who require mechanical ventilation due to the lack of data showing benefit at this advanced stage of the disease.https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/management/therapeutic-management/
It may be worth noting that seven of the 60 members of the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel report financial ties to Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir. As a headline in the Washington Post noted, “Remdesivir may not cure coronavirus, but it’s on track to make billions for Gilead.”
And indeed, despite its $3,000 price tag, remdesivir did not seem to help Judith improve.
Yet, things were about to change for Judith.
On January 1, 2021, Michael’s mother-in-law saw a video on her smartphone that showed a balding doctor, Dr. Pierre Kory, passionately speaking with an Arizona TV station about a new treatment for COVID: ivermectin. He had recently spoken in front of a congressional committee in Washington D.C. to plead with the NIH and other agencies to evaluate this drug.
“If you take it (ivermectin), you will not get sick,” said Dr. Kory in his congressional testimony. Kory described his experiences working with COVID patients. “I’m a lung specialist. I’m an ICU specialist. I’ve cared for more dying COVID patients than anyone can imagine. They’re dying because they can’t breathe,” said Dr. Kory. “I can’t keep doing this,” he said. “Any further deaths are going to be needless deaths, and I cannot be traumatized by that. I cannot keep caring for patients when I know that they could have been saved with earlier treatment and that drug that will treat them and prevent the hospitalization is ivermectin.”
Soon the word about the video got to Michael and, although he was skeptical at first, he decided to watch it himself. Within minutes after watching the video and seeing Dr. Kory’s incredible passion, he says, “I called the ICU and told the attending physician, ‘We want my mother to be on this medication.’”
As reported in Mountain Home magazine, the doctor refused. The family was told that ivermectin wasn’t approved for COVID-19, and they were lectured with ‘we don’t experiment on our patients.’
But Michael did not take ‘no’ for an answer when it came to his mother’s life.
Finally a hospital administrator approved one dose of 15 milligrams of Ivermectin.
Within the next 24 hours, Judith was well enough to be taken off of her ventilator.
Remember, just days before, her family had been told Judith had only a 20% chance of survival, not to mention getting off of her ventilator.
But Judith’s fight for her life was sadly far from over. Her condition started getting worse. She was moved to another part of the hospital, a COVID ward, where her doctors refused to provide any more ivermectin.
“We were astounded when they refused to give her any more doses,” Michael said, as recorded in the Buffalo News. “That’s why I called Ralph Lorigo and we took the hospital to court.”
In the beginning, “(Michael) thought I could simply call the hospital and convince them to giver her ivermectin,” said Lorigo in an interview with TrialSiteNews. “That was never going to be able to happen,”
Michael and his wife met up with Lorigo and his team at Lorigo’s offices on Jamuary 7, 2021. By January 8, the judge in the case, New York State Supreme Court Justice Henry J. Nowak had already reviewed the facts and a legal order was written up, ordering the hospital to provide Judith with ivermectin.
The hospital fought back, with hospital lawyers asking for a conference with Justice Nowak in an effort to get him to rescind the order.
“I told the judge, “Look: this is an 80-year old lady that’s been given a 20% chance of living. And she’s on … a ventilator, and she would have been on that ventilator for a month if she was going to survive. When she got her first dose of ivermectin, she’s off the ventilator within 48 hours and on the … COVID floor, and that’s where the COVID doctors won’t give her the ivermectin. This is life-and-death. The judge sided with me, (and) ordered that the hospital had to provide the continuous dose of ivermectin.”
After receiving the ivermectin, Judith’s condition improved, and the 80-year old grandmother left the hospital a few days later. She spent about a month in a rehab facility and then returned home to her normal activities.
“I am so appreciative of my family, the lawyers, the judge, the doctors, and all these people who were praying for me and fighting for me,” Judith said, quoted in the Buffalo News.
“While she was on the ventilator,” said her daughter, Michele Kulbacki in the Buffalo News, “we prayed for Mom. We prayed to God, and the answer that came back to us was ivermectin.”
“My brother was doing some research on his own and came up with the information about ivermectin. Nothing else was helping our mother. We read that ivermectin was helping other people and had no dangerous side effects. We decided we had to try it.”
As far as we’re concerned, the drug saved this woman’s life. – Quoted in the Buffalo News
YouTube has been busy trying to scrub mentions of this ivermectin court case from their videos by deleting them. For example there was this video interview of attorney Lorigo with TrialSiteNews.com that got scrubbed:
“I can’t say it will help everyone, but I definitely believe it helped me, with no side effects,” Judith said in the Buffalo News.
“I feel that God kept me around for a reason. He had a plan for me,” she said. “I believe that part of that plan is to get people to take a closer look at Ivermectin.”
Judith’s case garnered a significant amount of local and national publicity. And for Lorigo’s office, the calls started coming in. “I received a call from a lady whose mother was in the Rochester hospital. So that was Glenna.”
Glenna Dickinson, 65, of Albion, New York, had been in the hospital with COVID for eight days, three of them on a ventilator, when her family convinced a doctor to prescribe her ivermectin. However, according to reports, the hospital “lost” the ivermectin that had been acquired from a local pharmacy.
Alarmed, and worried that time was of the essence, the family hired Lorigo, who managed to quickly get a court order to force the hospital to provide her with ivermectin.
“Within 12 hours, she had made a strong improvement, but the hospital was reluctant to continue giving her ivermectin,” Lorigo said in an article in the Buffalo News.
Her family says Dickinson is still recovering but has made “miraculous” progress, thanks in large part to this medicine, ivermectin.