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.
The account that follows is a summary of the story we told to Brad and Jodie. I would ask that you really “listen” as you read it. I don’t expect that every reader will instantly jump on board with what is presented here. But just know that what follows is the tough-to-take truth of what occurred. This is the story that many people would rather you did not hear.
Above all else, perhaps this story—now more of a “cautionary tale”—will help you see that the astonishing loss of life this pandemic has caused—and is still causing—was mostly unnecessary. Those innocent lives can never be reclaimed.
But the monstrous reasons why they died can be exposed.
My husband is Dr. Fred Wagshul—a Dayton, Ohio area pulmonologist/critical care specialist with an unblemished 35-year career spent saving thousands of lives. He is also one of the eight founding physicians of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), now a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The now globally renowned FLCCC came together in March of 2020 to develop protocols to save patients dying of COVID-19.
The corrupt defamation of Fred (and many, many other doctors) by the media for his use of ivermectin to save his patients easily rose to the level of slander and libel…for which we are currently studying legal remedies. But to understand how we got here, the backstory is a necessary preface…
When the FLCCC was formed and Fred became one of its founding doctors, I began volunteering to assist with public relations and marketing. It started when Dr. Paul Marik (who is the co-founder, co-chief medical officer, and intellectual leader of the FLCCC) reached out to me through a mutual friend to ask if I could help him, along with several other doctors who he had enlisted, to gain the attention of then New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, then President Trump, or any other federally elected official or appointee who could help. Dr. Marik—who is the most highly published critical care physician in the United States—wanted to urgently let them know that he had developed a protocol using corticosteroids that could save the majority of critically ill covid-19 patients that were crashing into the nation’s ICUs.
The FLCCC’s tiny team soon included eight like-minded physicians, former CBS Consumer Affairs Correspondent Betsy Ashton, and me—a career marketing and communications executive. Working with Dr. Marik, and Drs. Pierre Kory, Joseph Varon, Umberto Meduri, Jose Iglesias, Keith Berkowitz, Howard Kornfeld, and Fred, Betsy and I quickly drafted a press release to send to every news organization we could possibly reach.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) had already issued a strong recommendation against the use of corticosteroids for critical covid-19 illness. So despite repeated pleas to the WHO, the CDC, the NIH, the FDA, and the general public, no one responded to Dr. Marik or the FLCCC physicians—who together have published several medical textbooks and over 2,000 papers in medical journals around the world.
Repeated claims by the FLCCC that covid-19 was a “steroid responsive disease” went unheeded for months while thousands continued to die everyday—unnecessarily. Mortality rates from covid-19 in the nation’s hospitals ranged from averages of anywhere from 25 to 80 percent. The hospital ICUs where the FLCCC doctors worked were experiencing mortality rates of 4 to 8 percent. We conveyed this information to America’s public health agencies. To CNN, TheNew York Times, TheWall Street Journal, TheWashington Post, and many more.
Wicked, wicked silence.
It was only after Oxford University in the UK published its “Recovery” trial in late June, 2020, demonstrating the ability of corticosteroids to rescue critically ill patients, that the WHO issued a new recommendation that corticosteroids should be used for covid-19.
Well now. Whaddaya know about that…
The WHO’s recommendation for the use of corticosteroids—though lethal in its tardiness—was a sort of victory for the FLCCC. It must be mentioned here, however, that the FLCCC critical care team argues (still) that the steroid studied by Oxford University—dexamethasone—was the wrong corticosteroid, tested at the wrong dose; yet even that drug helped to recover patients in the trial. The FLCCC maintains that methylprednisolone is the superior component and should be given at a higher dose to critically ill covid-19 patients. More people could (and still can) be saved if hospitals would switch to methylprednisolone at the dosing in the FLCCC’s MATH+ Protocol. (MATH+ is the acronym for the protocol that includes Methylprednisolone, Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine, and Heparin, plus several additional co-interventions.)
In the summer of 2020, with covid cases still rising, the FLCCC physicians began to research components and combinations of therapies that could aid in the prevention and early treatment of covid-19. That was the logical next front for the FLCCC doctors. If powerful interventions could be found to deter the virus, then the number of people getting sick enough to go into the ICU would plummet, and far fewer would die.
During that summer, researchers and scientists around the world were also racing to develop covid-19 vaccines. However, the availability of vaccines getting into arms was months away, so Dr. Marik, Dr. Kory and the FLCCC critical care team shifted into high gear. They began to pore over dozens of research papers that were coming in from around the world on newly identified therapeutic interventions that were showing promise in their ability to stop the progression of early covid-19—before the virus had an opportunity to advance to critical disease.