In yet another appellate court ruling, a decision by a trial court to force a hospital to issue emergency privileges to a physician in order to prescribe ivermectin to an in-patient was overturned in Pennsylvania. Despite a number of similar appellate decisions around the country, some trial courts continue to ignore state, federal and accreditation standards which impose very specific qualification standards as well as required hospital and medical staff procedures before granting clinical privileges to any physician.
The forced issuance of emergency privileges can expose the hospital to regulatory non-compliance despite their attempts to challenge a trial court's erroneous legal position. Fortunately, even though the dispute oftentimes becomes moot because the patient has either been discharged, or in this case the patient died, by the time the appellate court hears the appeal, this and other courts have ruled anyway in recognition of the public policy interests at issue and the potential for repetition.
Hospitals should become familiar with these appellate court rulings in case they are faced with similar requests to prescribe ivermectin or similar unproven medications in the treatment of Covid patients. See, e.g., Gahl v. Aurora Health Care (No. 2021AP11787 - 2nd Dist. Wisc. Ct. of Appeal (May 25, 2022); Smith v. West Chester Hospital (No. CV 202108 1206 - Ohio - (September 6, 2021); Texas Health Huguley v. Jones (No. 02-21-00364-CV - 2nd Dist. Texas (November 18, 2021)
“Hospitals, not courts, have the resources and authority to determine whether a physician has the appropriate medical training, experience and personal fitness to be eligible for medical staff privileges, especially within an intensive care unit,” Stevens ruled.