A false report has Oklahoma trending nationally. The story claims hospitals in the state are being overrun by people overdosing on the horse anti-parasitic ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
The doctor at the center of the story told News 9 he was misquoted, and the story was wrong.
“That original story was just a little misquoted,” Dr. Jason McElyea told News 9 Friday.
The story was picked up by national and international news organizations like The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The Hill and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“As the story ran, it sounded like all of Oklahoma hospitals were filled with people who have overdosed on ivermectin and that’s not the case,” McElyea said. “The cases we are seeing, people who are overdosing on ivermectin, they are taking full strength cattle doses and coming in and that is something that could be avoided.”
INEGRIS Hospital said in a statement McElyea is an employee of an agency that staffs emergency departments throughout the United States including several emergency departments in rural Oklahoma.
“What we can confirm is that we have seen a handful of ivermectin patients in our emergency rooms, to include INTEGRIS Grove Hospital. And while our hospitals are not filled with people who have taken ivermectin, such patients are adding to the congestion already caused by COVID-19 and other emergencies,” the hospital group said.
The Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information said they received 12 ivermectin-related calls last month.
The vast majority of the medical community remains outspoken against the animal grade drug being used to treat COVID-19 in humans.
“This is not something to just be taken lightly they can actually cause harm if it’s taken inappropriately and someone overdoses,” Dr. Lacy Anderson with Primary Health Partners said. “Mainly what’s causing the hospitals to fill up right now is this delta surge with COVID so much more COVID related than ivermectin.”
At least one of the hospitals McElyea worked with distanced themselves from the viral stories over the weekend.
Northeastern Health System Sequoyah said, “Dr. Mcelyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over two months, NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin.”