UPDATE: Here is the link to the follow-up story to this article: https://firstname.lastname@example.org/an-open-letter-to-mainstream-media-mainstream-medicine-and-elected-officials-who-were-told-4f26aa0a56f5?source=friends_link&sk=cbb0b4709d412610e5753a8d8d461fca)
I’m just going to lay it all out here for you—straight. My prayer is that you’ll read it, share it, and in the process, save some lives of people with COVID-19. Probably a lot of lives.
Here’s the story.
About three weeks ago, I was sitting in the living room with my husband Fred, reading yet another article on my iPad about how COVID-19 is making people sicker than they’ve ever been before; and how ruthless, vicious and random a killer it has become. As I was reading, a notification dropped onto the screen that I had received a Facebook message from a good friend.
I opened Facebook Messenger. Here’s what she wrote: “I have sent both you and Fred a letter and protocol for COVID-19 written by Dr. Paul Marik. I grew up with him in South Africa and I think his protocol is worth reading. I am not qualified to critique this protocol but I know that Paul is brilliant and has done incredible work treating sepsis in the past and is very well published. Would be interested to hear what Fred [a pulmonologist] thinks about his protocol.”
I stopped what I was doing, and told Fred to go to his email and open the message from Glynnis. As we both read through the COVID-19 Critical Care Management Protocol Glynnis sent to us from Dr. Marik — Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School and actually the most published clinical researcher in Critical Care in the country — we both sat with eyes wide and jaws dropped. “People are dying needlessly,” Dr. Marik wrote. “I do not think the White House Coronavirus Task Force is being entirely honest with the American public. Furthermore, the amount of misinformation and the mixed messaging is causing panic and anxiety. While Dr. Fauci is a highly respected scientist, he is not on the front lines and does not take care of critically sick patients.”
Dr. Marik outlined the early intervention protocol in his document, which began with a dire warning: “The medical community needs to get off their “high pedestal” and act decisively and right now; there is no time to lose. It is likely that 40–80% of the population across the world will become infected with this virus. It is therefore unrealistic for us to expect this will just go away. Our goal should therefore to reduce the mortality in those who are at greatest risk of dying.
“[Some in the medical community] are promoting the idea of performing randomized controlled trials (RCTs). I believe that it is unethical to do such trials now. How can you offer patients a placebo when testing a drug that you believe may have clinical efficacy? Every patient needs to get the best treatment we can offer; we would expect no less for our loved ones.”
“It is likely that there will not be a single “magic bullet” to cure COVID-19. Rather, we should be using multiple drugs/interventions that have synergistic and overlapping biological effects, that are safe, cheap and could be made readily available. The impact on middle-income and low-income countries will be enormous; these countries will not be able to afford expensive designer molecules.”
Dr. Marik’s protocol included the use of pharmacy grade IV ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), which has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, immune enhancing, and antiviral properties that, Dr. Marik says, are likely to be of benefit in patients with COVID-19. Furthermore, he stressed that ascorbic acid has proven synergistic effects when combined with corticosteroids. Therefore, he is recommending steroids (methylprednisolone) in patients with COVID-19 and with moderate to severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) — which is an atypical form of ARDS in COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Marik’s protocol also included thiamine, melatonin, Vitamin D, hydrochloroquine, azithromycin, and other drugs in the recommended cocktails — developed for each stage of disease from mild to acute.
Fred read through the protocol and immediately recognized Dr. Marik’s name. In fact, calling him a “giant” in the field of Critical Care Medicine, Fred said he has been following Dr. Marik’s published articles for quite some time, and recalled seeing an interview with him not too long ago discussing one of his published papers.
“He is 100% right on this protocol,” said Fred. “Clinically, this makes all the sense in the world to me. If I was still working in the ICUs right now [as he did for 25 years], this would absolutely be my go-to protocol. Nothing else is working. Joyce, he’s got to get this out there. But I’ll say this: It won’t be easy because a lot of docs won’t like the ascorbic acid and steroid parts of the protocol because they’ve been taught to use other treatments for ARDS. But ARDS in COVID-19 is different. MUCH different. What we don’t know about it is way more than what we DO know. But reading through this, and the dropping mortality rates [by 50%] he’s had using it, I really think this could be a game-changer.”
Since I am in the communications field, I volunteered to coordinate the writing and dissemination of an OP-ED with Dr. Marik about this protocol to send out to media outlets through the country. Before I could even put pen to paper, something remarkable happened — with unreal lightning speed. By the next morning, Dr. Marik’s colleague and friend, Dr. Pierre Kory, Medical Director of the Trauma & Life Support Center, Critical Care Service Chief and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health in Madison; and Dr. Keith Berkowitz, Medical Director, Center for Balanced Health and Voluntary Attending Physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. had joined in to try to hurriedly get the word out.
Very shortly thereafter, Dr. Joseph Varon, Professor of Acute & Continuing Care at The University of Texas Health Science Center and Chief of Staff and Chief of Critical Care at United Memorial Medical Center, Houston came on board; along with Dr. G. Umberto Meduri, Professor of Medicine, Division of Critical Care & Sleep Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis; Dr. Jose Iglesias, Associate Professor at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall, Department of Nephrology & Critical Care at Community Medical Center, Department of Nephrology at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; and Dr. Howard Kornfeld, Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California at San Francisco and a Board-Certified Emergency Medicine Physician in Mill Valley, California. They knew of Dr. Marik’s protocol and were succeeding in the use of it. For all of them, this was about one thing and one thing only: Saving lives. As many as they could. And quickly.
The OP-ED was out within a day, with negligible media play. It is true that media outlets receive torrents of press releases, Letters to the Editor, and OP-EDs every single day. It’s hard — if not impossible — for them to immediately know which ones are gold and which are out-and-out scams. Even writing to reporters individually and calling them on the phone produces few (no) results. Citing the unimpeachable credentials of the physicians recommending — no — shouting from the rooftops that this is already saving lives has still fallen on media ears as so much huckster-speak.
“The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other medical organizations won’t endorse their treatment because it hasn’t been double-blind tested for months and months,” said Betsy Ashton, former Consumer correspondent for CBS News who hopped on board with the group immediately and sent out press materials to major media. “Well, this is a war against a new enemy, and proof won’t happen for months. So, do you stay an unsuccessful course and watch your patients die?”
Telling the media, for example, that the highly respected Dr. Joe Varon in Texas is using the protocol and to date, has saved dozens of lives — does not move them to publish. “Did you know that 100% of his patients in the ICU are leaving the hospital and returning home to their families? 100%! He’s had NO deaths. Not one.” Nothing. “And what about the fact that his patients are getting off the ventilator in 48 hours instead of 10–21 days?” Crickets. “And did you know that with this early intervention protocol, patients who would have otherwise progressed to a ventilator in Dr. Varon’s hospital are remaining on the floor without needing to be intubated?” A cricket convention.
Maybe it’s because the names of these docs are NOT on their lists of the usual “go-to” medical experts that we see on TV and read about on the internet. It takes too long to “vet” another expert. The news about COVID happens way to fast for us to stop and consider another voice. We’ll stick with the grim death totals the inability of the medical community to know what works or to find a treatment strategy around which doctors can rally. All this while other docs in the group who treat using the protocol in their ERs and ICUs have had successes with lowering COVID-19 mortality rates at their hospitals. What, in God’s name, are we afraid of here? I know that if it’s me, I’m heading to the hospital with the protocol in hand and demanding that they use it.
“I believe we’ve cracked the COVID-19 code.” — Dr. Paul Marik
So here is where we are at. These physicians have now come together to form the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group. They have released their protocol for treating patients who arrive in hospitals with COVID-19. Based on available research, the experience in China reflected by the Shanghai expert commission, and their decades-long professional experiences in Intensive Care Units around the country, these experts are now strongly urging fellow physicians to immediately adopt a change in strategy by delivering these powerful therapies earlier in the disease course, prior to admission to the ICU or the need for a mechanical ventilator.
YOU, my dear Medium readers, must be the media in this moment. YOU can (must!) be the carriers of this urgent message. If you have loved ones in the hospital fighting for their lives, print out the the protocol and give it to their docs. If you have friends or anyone you know who has fallen ill with COVID-19, give them the protocol in the event they need to go to the hospital if their breathing worsens.
Here is a link to the group’s webpage. It’s not very fancy, but all the information is there…the treatment protocol, the press release and a video where you can meet these docs who need you right now to help them save lives — literally thousands upon thousands of lives all around the world.
People are dying needlessly. Let’s save lives together. With heartfelt thanks, Joyce