Argentina: Coronavirus Patient Dies After Judge Forces Clinic to Inject Bleach

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Argentine coronavirus patient Oscar García Rúa, 93, died Monday after receiving chlorine dioxide, a bleach, intravenously. His family successfully sued the clinic treating him demanding they administer the disinfectant after a doctor suggested it.

García was already severely ill with the Chinese coronavirus prior to the use of chlorine dioxide. An attorney for his family stated Tuesday that they do not believe he died of his coronavirus infection or of exposure to the chlorine dioxide, but of a bacterial infection, and intend to sue the clinic, Sanatorio Otamendi y Miroli S.A., again.

The legal decision sets the precedent that judges — who typically have legal educations but not medical ones — can intervene to force health professionals to administer treatments that they disagree with. The federal court hearing the case rejected the clinic’s appeal of the ruling.

Chlorine dioxide is a bleach typically used to clean or disinfect items but has surfaced as a fraudulent, and dangerous “miracle cure” for coronavirus, peddled by dubious sources around the world. The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has repeatedly warned Americans that ingesting chlorine dioxide poses “significant risks” to the health of anyone doing so, regardless of their coronavirus status.

According to Argentine newspaper La Nación, García’s wife had also been gravely ill in the same clinic with the Chinese coronavirus, and doctors recommended the use of chlorine dioxide alongside inhalable ibuprofen, a painkiller and anti-inflammatory. While the doctor in question recommended the experimental treatment, the clinic did not approve it, and Argentina’s public health authorities do not permit the use of the bleach in this manner. The woman died on January 6.

A day later, García’s family sued the clinic in court to demand their father receive the chlorine dioxide as soon as possible, to prevent him from also dying. Judge Javier Pico Terrero ruled in favor of the family, ordering the clinic to allow the treatment. While the clinic appealed, the court maintained its original ruling, noting that traditional treatments against Chinese coronavirus had not helped the patient improve.

According to the clinic, García died within 24 hours of receiving the chlorine chemical intravenously, experiencing a deterioration of his ability to breathe.

Martín Sarubbi, the family’s doctor, declared Tuesday, according to the Argentine newspaper Clarín, that the family did not believe García died of a Chinese coronavirus infection, but of medical negligence, and that they would further sue the clinic for “culpable homicide.”

“The doctor treating him suggested chlorine dioxide and the inhalable ibuprofen and Otamendi denied the treatment. Before that, we presented a cause [to the court] and the court ruled on it,” Sarubbi said in an interview. “The clinic kept diluting the treatment. The reality is that [chlorine] dioxide is not forbidden. [Health authorities] discourage it, but they do not prohibit it. The man died because of an infection acquired at the hospital and because of the delay in treatment.”

The attorney went on to accuse the clinic of denying the treatment “for economic reasons that have nothing to do with the efficiency of the treatment.” He also claimed García improved following the administering of the bleach.

Clarín quoted a medical expert, Professor Carlos Damin, who decried that chlorine dioxide is “a bleach … it has never, ever been used as a treatment.”

“There isn’t any kind of scientific evidence that shows that it works as medicine. It is clearly a toxic substance and can hurt one’s health,” Damin noted. “It is not used in any country of the world except [socialist] Bolivia, which recently authorized its use.”

Chlorine dioxide is typically used as a bleaching agent and in minuscule amounts to disinfect water at treatment plants, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the Chinese coronavirus pandemic has worsened, however, dubious websites have surfaced around the world selling “miracle” cures for coronavirus largely made up of chlorine dioxide, a phenomenon the FDA has repeatedly condemned.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning letter to a seller that markets fraudulent and dangerous chlorine dioxide products known as ‘Miracle Mineral Solution’ for prevention and treatment of ‘Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019’ (COVID-19),” the FDA announced in April, referring to the Chinese coronavirus. The FDA warned that those consuming the products “are drinking bleach” and that the FDA “is not aware of any scientific evidence supporting their safety or effectiveness and they pose significant risks to patient health.”

Last month, an American man in Massachusetts pleaded guilty to charges of “distribution and sale of an unregistered pesticide” after being caught selling necklaces filled with chlorine dioxide, allegedly as a cure for Chinese coronavirus.

“At the height of a raging pandemic killing thousands of people a day, this defendant tried to profit from conning people into believing that a pesticide-coated lanyard would protect them from viruses like COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus],” United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said of the man, identified by local media as Jiule Lin. “This was dangerous, opportunistic fraud.”

At press time, no evidence exists of any police action against the doctor who suggested injecting bleach into García’s veins in Argentina.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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