A man has died and his wife is under critical care after they ingested a chemical found commonly found in fish tank cleaner thinking it was the miracle coronavirus cure President Donald Trump touted at a press conference last week.
Banner Health, a non-profit hospital system based in Arizona, issued a statement urging the public against the use of inappropriate medications and household products to prevent or treat COVID-19 on Monday.
To emphasize the importance of the warning, officials disclosed a few details of what happened with an unnamed couple that ignored the advice and took their medical care into their own hands.
The couple, both in their 60s, were rushed to the hospital about 30 minutes after ingesting chloroquine phosphate, according to the statement.
It’s believed that they confused the chemical – an additive often used at aquariums to clean fish tanks – with hydroxychloroquine, an antimalaria drug that’s shown promising results in treating COVID-19 patients.
President Donald Trump touted chloroquine as a ‘miracle drug’ at a press conference last week, but Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus expert, quickly followed Trump’s comments by saying more work was needed before it could be heralded as a solution
Dr Fauci (center) has not been at the White House coronavirus task force briefing for two days
A man has died and his wife is under critical care after they ingested chloroquine phosphate, a chemical found commonly found in fish tank cleaner, thinking it was the miracle coronavirus cure President Donald Trump has been touting at his press conferences
Banner Health experts emphasized that people should not take chloroquine under any circumstances unless it’s prescribed by a doctor.
‘Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,’ said Dr Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director.
‘The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.’
Experts noted that the majority of people diagnosed with the novel coronavirus would recover without complications, and that ‘the routine use of specific treatments, including medications described as “anti-COVID-19”, is not recommended for non-hospitalized patients’.
‘We are strongly urging the medical community to not prescribe this medication to any non-hospitalized patients,’ Brooks said.
The statement did not say whether the couple who ingested chloroquine phosphate had been diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to doing so.
As of Monday there are nearly 42,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US and 576 deaths
New York state officials are expected to begin trials with hydroxychloroquine on Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference Monday (pictured)
Hydroxychloroquine has not yet been proven as effective in battling COVID-19, but President Trump drummed up excitement over it when he called it a ‘game changer’ last week.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus expert, quickly followed Trump’s comments by saying more work was needed before it could be heralded as a solution.
New York state officials are expected to begin trials with the medication on Tuesday, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Meanwhile, many people across the US have praised the drug and credited it with saving their lives – albeit after they were prescribed it by doctors.