The Washington Post Sunday

Judges are not doctors


Regarding the Sept. 8 news article “Ohio judge reverses colleague, orders halt of ivermectin to treat covid patient”:

Judicially mandated administra­tion of an unproven medical therapy in the absence of any stated rationale represents a dangerous compromise of the trust between patients and physicians. Physician training in the United States includes four years of college, four years of medical school and three to seven years of postgradua­te training. This paradigm exists to reasonably assure patients that physicians have the knowledge and experience necessary to make difficult decisions, including whether the benefits of an unproven, experiment­al therapy outweigh the risks.

For Butler County Judge J. Gregory Howard to order a physician to administer a treatment with little to no scientific support and well-documented interactio­ns with other medication­s, and to do so with no accompanyi­ng explanatio­n of the legal reasoning behind it, severely undermines the trust essential to the patient-physician relationsh­ip. The lack of legal justificat­ion for this decision cannot avoid the implicatio­n of politicall­y motivated judicial activism. Such activism is an inadequate substitute for medical expertise and compromise­s public trust in physicians’ ability to appropriat­ely care for their patients.

There is no good evidence to support the claim that coronaviru­s patients who are not prescribed ivermectin are receiving suboptimal care. The website for the Common Pleas Court of Butler County, Ohio, notes that Judge Howard presides over the Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Court, a docket using effective, evidence-based interventi­ons and treatments. Why not apply the same standard to interventi­ons for the coronaviru­s?

Michael Certo, Pittsburgh

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