Arkansas inmates sue after being treated for COVID-19 with ivermectin

A group of four inmates in an Arkansas jail have filed a federal lawsuit as they allege that medical staff gave them the drug ivermectin to treat their COVID-19 infections without telling them the identity of the medication. The inmates say they were told the medicines were “vitamins,” “antibiotics,” or “steroids.” 

The complaint identifies Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder, the Washington County Detention Center, Dr. Robert Karas, as well as his medical practice, Karas Health Care.

“No one – including incarcerated individuals – should be deceived and subject to medical experimentation,” said the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas Gary Sullivan. The lawsuit was filed by the Arkansas ACLU. “Sheriff Helder has a responsibility to provide food, shelter, and safe, appropriate care to incarcerated individuals.” 

While federal health authorities and medical experts have cautioned against the use of ivermectin in the treatment of the coronavirus, but a small group of doctors have endorsed the drug for those experiencing COVID-19.

Ivermectin has been called a wonder drug for treating parasitic infections in humans since its development for human use in the late 1970s. Even though it has been proven safe, medical professionals have urged people not to take the drug for COVID-19 as the Food and Drug Administration did not approve the medication for treating or preventing coronavirus.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Edrick Floreal-Wooten, Jeremiah Little, Julio Gonzales, and Dayman Blackman, have said they were still given high doses of ivermectin anyway.

They alleged their receipt of the medication caused them to develop side effects like vision issues, diarrhea, bloody stools, and stomach cramps.

Following the lawsuit being filed, a post on Karas Health Care’s Facebook page read: “Inmates aren’t dumb and I suspect in the future other inmates around the country will be suiing [sic] their facilities requesting same treatment we’re using at WCDC-including the Ivermectin.”

Karas added that he has been successful in using ivermectin to treat COVID-19, saying that he regularly gives it to patients with the coronavirus, and he has taken it himself and given it to family members. 




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