Texas Doctor Promotes Dangerous Treatment for COVID-19

You might have seen her post on Facebook. Wearing a black cowboy hat and matching boots, Doctor Ivette Lozano rambled for almost 15 minutes about the “conspiracy” that is the global pandemic. She spends her time first displaying her complete ignorance regarding the current coronavirus cases in Texas, and then thorought the rest of the time rambles about her practice where she has “cured every patient” that is blessed to cross her entryway.

Let’s take a closer look at the doctor and just get a real sense for how she treats her patients.

Ivette Lozano, MD is a physician located out of Dallas, TX who appears to specialize in family medicine and general surgery. She has not spent much time in the spotlight, but recently received internet fame by attending a Texas protest rally and giving a speech. The rant was recorded, and quickly became viral.

“Texas Doctor Praises Trump’s Advice On COVID-19” and “I Want You To Know The Truth About COVID-19” are just two of the titles accompanied by her video.

Just for clarification, if someone is telling you they want to tell you “the truth” about something, you know you are about to hear a load of crap.

And of course, after her “Pro-Trump” post, Fox News took the bait and have brought her on national TV to tout her fake news.

She claims that the Texas Pharmacy Board has illegally restricted prescriptions of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, and requests that an evidence based diagnosis must be provided before they can fill the prescription. Lozano reports that it is a HIPAA violation and is unethical for her to release this information.

As it turns out it is not illegal, and almost every state has a similar guideline for hydroxychloroquine. A joint letter released by the American Medical Association and the American Pharmacists Association provides recommended guidelines and regulations each state currently has to obey.

Let’s take a closer look at her first video, and counteract any of her claims that are lacking scientific evidence.

Right out of the gate, she lists numbers of COVID-19 cases (in Texas). The numbers she references were accurate as of May 10th. I have added in current figures for Texas when I could find them.

She states that there are 27,000 confirmed cases (currently up to 55,348 ) with 3,000 recovered and 111 dead (now up to 1,519 deaths).

Her next sentence goes something like this: “Well if 3,000 have recovered, and 111 are dead out of a total of 27,000 then that’s some 24,000 recovered, right?”

Uhh…..no? Are you forgetting the active cases, where patients are still fighting COVID-19? I don’t practice medicine, but I can surely tell you that once you have tested positive for a viral infection, you don’t immediately get added into either the recovered column or the dead column. That’s just basic common sense.

Much of the data she reports from this point forward is personal anecdotes from her office. She discusses how all the patients she has seen have mild symptoms and are “suffering from hysteria” rather than from the disease itself.

Well, I can’t speak to her personal anecdotes because the data is not publicly available (and she actually states she does this so no one can counteract her claims), but I can speak to the overall trends of symptoms and the degrees of severity and variability we see in patients across the world.

As always, I am posting this as a source of information and not providing any sort of medical advice. If you are concerned you or someone you know may have COVID-19 please contact your nearest hospital and speak to a medical professional.

Per the CDC website, symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Mild symptoms may include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, or muscle/body aches, headaches, loss of ability to taste/smell, and in some cases nausua, vomiting or diarrhea.

More moderate to severe symptoms may include trouble breathing, pressure in the chest, confusion, and cyanotic lips/face (due to lack of oxygen). Patients that need to be hospitalized will often need to be ventilated, which is when you no longer are able to breath under your own power, and must be sedated and have a machine breathe for you. Reports of blood clotting have also been confirmed for patients with COVID-19

For more complete information on symptoms and treatments, visit the CDC website.

When you look at the percentage of patients that experience mild or severe symptoms, it varies depending on your location.

In China, rates of ICU admission ranged from 7 to 26%

In the United States, 20 percent of patients in New York required ventilation and in Washington state, ICU admission rates for COVID-19 patients were 4.9 to 11.5%.

So for Ivette Lozano, it is possible that her experience is distorted because 70 to 80% of patients may not need hospitalization. However, just because she has not yet experienced a severe COVID-19 case, that doesn’t mean they are false reports. Something else she should have learned in her years in education.

She continues her rant by saying “How did I learn to treat COVID-19 patients? I learned from the president of the United States.”

So you didn’t read the primary literature for yourself? You didn’t speak to expert physicians who have experience? You just trusted someone who is so far outside the scientific realm of knowledge because of your political beliefs? I don’t think I have to comment any further.

So she decides to prescribe them hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic of some sort (not specified in the video, but it could be assumed to be azithromycin) and says it’s what good doctors do, they practice medicine. Without any scientific support.

I’m sorry, I don’t go to the doctor so I can be a guinea pig for their treatment combinations. I expect my physicians and the physicians for my family to use evidence-based practices. If the do want me to test a new drug combination, then I expect to be apart of a clinical trial that is properly handled and my safety is given the highest priority. Practicing medicine like this is not what good doctors do. Science-Based Medicine is a fantastic blog site where dozens of physicians talk about this very topic, and I would recommend visiting them when you get a chance.

She again continues her rant about how the pharmacist required her to provide a diagnosis that requires hydroxychloroquine.

I have already discussed this above, but I would like to mention that the job of a pharmacist is not just to count and dispense pills. Pharmacists are specifically trained to evaluate the risk of drugs for patients, and extensively study the risks involved for taking medicine. They are the true experts when it comes to drug risk factors. So they have every right to deny this doctor for what she is doing. And I am thankful that the Texas pharmacists board is taking a stand.

Since the pharmacy board requires a diagnosis, she admits to the audience that she provides a diagnosis that will allow for the prescription of hydroxychloroquine, apparently even if the patient doesn’t have the disease.

Again, I am not a medical professional, but I am about 99% sure that is illegal. At the very least it is unethical, and more than likely could be considered insurance fraud for patients with medical insurance.

But hey, she’s a doctor! She knows better than anyone else, because the president told her what to do.

Unfortunately, she is not the only doctor that as made decisions like this. The infamous Dr. Oz, who constantly posts pseudoscientific medicine, also spoke about the “wonders of hydroxychloroquine” although recently he backed off from his original statements and has listened to the current scientific body of knowledge.

The morale of the story: Doctor’s do not always follow the best medical practices and just like everyone else, are susceptible to their own biases. In the case of Ivette Lozano, it seems her political bias is influencing the decision of her medical practice, which is extremely dangerous. I can only hope that she decides to consider evidence based practices for treatment of COVID-19 cases, and listens to medical experts that understand the risks involved in such a treatment.

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