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Arkansas detainees sue jail that gave them ivermectin to treat COVID-19

The doctor at the Washington County Detention Center has been promoting the use of the controversial drug for months

Published: January 18, 2022 7:07am

Updated: January 18, 2022 7:41am

Four detainees at an Arkansas jail are suing for having unknowingly been giving ivermectin by a facility doctor to treat their COVID-19 infections. 

The suit being brought by the American Civil Liberties Union alleges the detainees – Dayman Blackburn, Julio Gonzales, Jeremiah Little and Edrick Floreal-Wooten – tested positive for the virus in August and were taken to the "quarantine block" of the jail where they were given a "cocktail of drugs" twice a day by Dr. Robert Karas.

Karas, according to the legal filing, told the men the cocktail consisted of vitamins, antibiotics and steroids. The ACLU of Arkansas alleges the jail in fact had been giving ivermectin to detainees as early as November of 2020. 

Detainees could have refused the medication but often did not because they believed they were taking FDA sanctioned COVID treatments.

The Food and Drug Administration has been battling the use of ivermectin to treat COVID, though some doctors have continued prescribing it to patients with reportedly positive results.

The suit claims that the men "ingested incredibly high doses" of the drug and experienced some side effects including gastrointestinal issues and blurred vision.

"This is really beyond the pale that the F.D.A. and [the Center for Disease Control and Prevention] would warn against this treatment and that the doctor would prescribe it and administer it anyway – and do it without their knowledge or consent," said Holly Dickson of the Arkansas ACLU.

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