The Despicable Defamation of a Lifesaving Doctor

My husband Fred and I had dinner recently at the home of good friends, Brad and Jodie (not their real names). I met Jodie about twenty-five years ago through our kids, who were schoolmates.

Over time, Jodie and I found that we shared many interests and passions—including support of charitable organizations, social justice advocacy, education, religious life, good food, and above all, left-leaning politics. (In 2020, I was—and still am—all in for Pete Buttigieg. She preferred a different democratic candidate. Still, it felt like we were aligned in our bigger vision of salvaging democracy.)

The lively conversation we were having that evening took a somewhat different tone when Brad looked up at Fred and asked, “So, tell me about ivermectin.”

Jodie was just coming back into the dining room, having taken the dinner dishes into the kitchen.

“Oh, are we talking about ivermectin? Good! I want to know more about this,” she said, sitting down and waiting for Fred to begin answering Brad’s question.

Fred and I looked at each other, because we knew exactly why Brad was asking. Yes, he really wanted to know what Fred, a physician, knew about ivermectin—a thirty-five-year-old workhorse of a drug, ranked by the WHO as safer than an aspirin; a drug that won its developers the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015; and a medicine that has eradicated parasitic pandemics and saved millions of lives in low-income and developing countries since 1987. He truly wanted to know if it actually worked, as many scientists, doctors and researchers have claimed, to treat every stage of covid-19 illness—from prevention to severe disease.

But more than that, we knew that what he really wanted to know was, “Fred, why were you dragged so mercilessly through the mud in the local and national media last month after you prescribed ivermectin for a dying patient whose wife went to court to compel the hospital to give it to him?”

Fred (and I) welcomed the opportunity to tell Brad and Jodie the whole story. Actually, we were excited. Since Fred’s rather infamous turn this fall in the media spotlight, regular phone calls and texts from friends stopped for awhile. I don’t think people knew what to say to us. They had seen or read what major media outlets were saying about Fred, and they were shocked.  So were (are) we.

For the next forty-five minutes, the story unfolded. They asked questions. We answered. I found myself refreshing my wine glass a few too many times as the whole story was revealed. With each passing minute, I became aware of a feeling of complete catharsis—a kind of calm that washed over me as I sat there with Fred…being heard at last by smart, well-read, reasoned friends who took in every word….

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