HOUSTON & TEXAS - Taylor Goldenstein April 7, 2020
Dr. Robin Armstrong holds a bottle of hydroxychloroquine while posing outside The Resort at Texas City nursing home, where he is the medical director.
Dr. Robin Amrstrong, the medical director at the facility, said Tuesday it is too soon to tell whether the treatment is working. The doctor who prescribed an unproven medication to more than two dozen COVID-19 patients at the Resort at Texas City, the site of one of the largest outbreaks in the Houston area, said the decision was between him and his patients and he did not notify families before the drugs were administered.
Dr. Robin Armstrong said he thought the potential benefits outweighed the risks.
While hydroxychloroquine is not approved for treating COVID-19, which so far has no cure, preliminary studies have suggested it might tamp down its symptoms.
State health officials say 10,000 bottles of the drug — commonly known by its brand name Plaquenil — have also been provided to 61 Texas hospitals for use on coronavirus patients.
Armstrong, who is a Texas Republican National Convention committee member, said the drug has been around for decades and that he understands well how it works.
“I am confident that the risk of the medication is low, and the failure rate, if they’re not treated, is fairly high,” Armstrong said. “So I am making the call that it is worth treating them with medications that we’re very familiar with that has a very low risk factor profile and it’s worth doing that as opposed to allowing them to go out into the community, allowing them to go to the hospital where the mortality rate is very high.”
He added, “If I had a loved one who was COVID-19 positive and they had the risk factors that I’ve outlined, I would certainly start them on it.”
Armstrong said most of those that learned about the treatment were excited to hear that the drug was available to try.
Patients were evaluated for eligibility for the treatment based on the severity of their symptoms, such as low oxygen saturation levels, he said.
President Trump has repeatedly touted the drug as a potential cure, though health experts have warned that it could cause major potential side effects, especially for the heart. The government’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said more testing is needed before it’s clear that the drug works against the virus and is safe for use.
Armstrong, a former vice chair of the Texas GOP who serves on the advisory board of the Black Voices for Trump coalition, said his politics don't play into his medical decisions.
“Completely separate. Completely unrelated,” Armstrong said. “If the results aren’t good, we’ll stop it. The science will guide us and lead us there. The political part of it is irrelevant to me.”
The cluster of cases at the home was discovered a little over a week ago when an employee tested positive for the virus, leading Galveston County health officials to test 146 residents and employees. Eighty-three residents and employees originally tested positive, and so far, one has died. As of Tuesday, Armstrong said 56 were positive.
In total, 27 patients are taking hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin and the vitamin zinc, Armstrong said. Some started as early as Saturday, others started in the two days following. The treatment will last five days.
The drugs became accessible for Armstrong after Amneal Pharmaceuticals donated 1 million tablets to the Texas Department of State Health Services pharmacy.
State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said he helped arrange the donation after a colleague at his law firm, who is friends with a board member at Amneal, mentioned the company was interested in giving away the drug to patients who needed it.
“Many physicians are saying it’s helpful in treating their COVID-19 patients,” Hughes said. “So we want to make sure that the doctors have every tool available to them.”
Hughes said he has also coordinated conversations between the company and other states about future donations, including Lousiana where officials last week accepted 400,000 tablets, as well as Mississippi, Arkansas and Georgia.
DSHS spokesman Chris Van Deusen said the state’spharmacy has been giving the drugs out upon request and has provided 559 bottles of hydroxychloroquine to 61 hospitals, including HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood, Twelve Oaks Hospital and Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston. Each bottle contains 100 pills.
Armstrong said he doesn’t want to minimize the potential risks of the drug or its interactions with other drugs, but he said he doesn’t see the concerns about it causing heart rhythm problems all that different from those involved with many medicines.
Armstrong said it’s too early to say whether the treatment is working . Some patients have seen improvements in their oxygen saturation levels, but it’s unclear whether that is related to the treatment.
“We’re trying to catch these elderly folks very early because what the evidence has shown is that specifically when they get so sick that they have to go to the hospital, their mortality rates go through the roof,” Armstrong said. “Our ultimate goal is to keep them well and to keep them out of the hospital and to make sure that they’re able to survive through this.”
Author: Jason Whitely - Published: 5:52 PM CDT April 14, 2020
39 elderly Texans successfully complete hydroxychloroquine treatment for COVID-19, doctor says
Patients completed a five-day treatment and their doctor said none of the patients experienced side effects. 39 elderly Texans successfully complete hydroxychloroquine treatment for COVID-19, doctor says
DALLAS — What happened at a Galveston County nursing home over the last week was one of the first big tests of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients in Texas.
“I thought the risk of seeing 15% of that nursing home die was just not an acceptable,” said Dr. Robin Armstrong, MD, medical director at The Resort at Texas City.
Fifty-six residents at this senior facility in Galveston County contracted the novel coronavirus. Dr. Robin Armstrong said 39 of them gave him permission to treat them with hydroxychloroquine pills.
“Most of the patients have done well. And, you know, and I think that that is suggestive that the medication is helpful,” Armstrong told WFAA.
But notice that Armstrong qualified his answer by saying “most of the patients.”
“Well, I would say I would say all the patients have done well,” Armstrong added.
On Sunday, those 39 patients finished five days of treatment with hydroxychloroquine. Dr. Armstrong said no one experienced any side effects.
“We've got one patient now that kind of goes back and forth,” said Dr. Armstrong, “He's an older gentleman, but we're kind of nursing him through the process, but he's getting better.
Two patients receiving hydroxychloroquine have had to go to hospital for unrelated conditions, Armstrong disclosed; a woman had a fall and a man got dehydrated in his room because he was not eating and drinking.
But for the first time since this treatment began, many of those who have recovered from the virus have been able to go outside and get some fresh air over the last 48 hours, Armstrong said.
The 65-year-old anti-malarial drug became controversial after Pres. Trump said it was a promising possibility for COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Armstrong is a Republican activist and said he supports the president, but at first questioned whether hydroxychloroquine would work for patients with coronavirus symptoms.
“When this hydroxychloroquine came out, I was a bit skeptical,” he explained, “because I know the World Health Organization actually was not initially including it in their study, because they didn't think that it was very effective.”
Democrats have correctly cautioned that hydroxychloroquine remains unproven for treating the coronavirus.
But if the president didn't bring attention to this drug, it’s doubtful there would be any political controversy around this pharmaceutical.
“I don't think so,” Armstrong said. “I don't think this would even be a conversation, honestly.”
Supply and demand have created a new side effect in the market for these tablets.
“I’ve been on this medication for about 20 years or so,” said Sandy Dixon, who lives in Euless in Tarrant County.
Hydroxychloroquine helps her live with lupus, but she says the pills have become harder for her to find since some doctors began using them for coronavirus patients.
“I understand for them it’s an ‘if’ but for me it’s not an ‘if’ factor. I need the medicine every day to be able to function.”
A Kroger spokesperson told WFAA that its Texas pharmacies have hydroxychloroquine in stock.
CVS and Walgreens said it’s now limiting these pills to ensure everyone with a prescription gets some.
Armstrong is quick to note that hydroxychloroquine is not a cure for COVID-19 but he said, in his experience, it can help reduce the severity of the symptoms in some patients.
NOTE: Hydroxychloroquine is approved for treatement of Covid-19 in both China and Japan. Important: Must NEVER be used without a doctor's diagnose.
The bottom line is for the people to regain their original, moral principles, which have intentionally been watered out over the past generations by our press, TV, and other media owned by the Illuminati/Bilderberger Group, corrupting our morals by making misbehavior acceptable to our society. Only in this way shall we conquer this oncoming wave of evil.
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