At least 14 people gathered outside Central Peninsula Hospital on Friday holding signs that advocated for alternative treatment options for COVID-19.
The group came together near where Marydale Avenue intersects with Lupine Street and Fireweed Street in Soldotna, with signs reading things like, “Treat Early!” and, “Wake Up, CPGH!”
Drew Gibbs organized the demonstration as a way to express his family’s frustration with the treatment options given to his mom, who is hospitalized at CPH with COVID-19. In a letter to CPH CEO Rick Davis shared publicly on Facebook, Gibbs said his family has already requested that the hospital use ivermectin to treat his mom’s COVID infection.
“We refuse to watch her continue to regress as your doctors continue the same treatment that has failed so many times and cost so many people their lives,” Gibbs wrote.
Ivermectin is a medication used to treat parasitic worms as well as head lice and certain skin conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not authorized and currently does not recommend the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 in humans or animals, and has warned that taking large doses of ivermectin is dangerous.
CPH External Affairs Director Bruce Richards said Friday that the hospital does not treat COVID-19 with ivermectin because it has not been approved by the FDA for that purpose.
“We don’t provide ivermectin for COVID-19,” Richards said.
Richards said that when it comes to treating COVID-19 patients, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each patient’s care, he said, is tailored to that patient’s needs.
Richards said some patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and their family members request to be treated with ivermectin, but could not offer information about specific patients due to HIPAA regulations.
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, prohibits health care providers from disclosing a patient’s health information without that patient’s consent or knowledge.
Friday, the hospital reported 16 patients who were COVID-positive, all of whom were unvaccinated. There were five patients in the intensive care unit and two on ventilators.
“This wave of COVID has been absolutely awful,” Richards said. “It’s a difficult thing to get through.”