Around 3 a.m. on March 10, Balani arrived at the hospital. The medicine had come in, and she did not want to wait until the morning to administer it. With Balani in the room, a nurse woke Cai up so that he could sign the legal papers. Soon after, he was hooked up, intravenously, to the drug.
The next day Cai’s fever, which he’d had for at least nine days, finally broke. Even before he received the remdesivir, his oxygen levels started to stabilize. Now they indicated he was on the mend. He was still so weak in the following days that he could barely speak without exhaustion; every time he tried, he was racked by coughs. But the progress was steady
Chloroquine also ran, It was used for a day while the Remdesivir was in the mail,
Cai’s boss, Dr. George Hall, also made a call, not long after Huang spoke to the infectious-disease doctor on call. He spoke with another doctor on Cai’s caregiving team, a hospitalist named Danit Arad.
Hall explained …that the Chinese National Health Commission had just published the seventh edition of guidelines on how to treat coronavirus. It was true that they were based more on clinical experience than on published studies, but he urged Arad to follow some of its protocols, which included prescribing two drugs that were commonly given to patients in China soon after they showed symptoms like shortness of breath: chloroquine, an antiviral drug once used to treat malaria, and Kaletra, another antiviral that had once been used to treat H.I.V.
at the time that neither drug had been through extensive clinical trials or had F.D.A. approval. She listened patiently to Hall and expressed her concern that his suggestions did not conform to standard medical procedure or C.D.C. guidelines.
Hall understood the need for evidence-based medicine as well as she did, he told her. But this was life and death.
That day, Cai was given chloroquine and Kaletra
I do not understand the need for “evidence-based medicine” or rather I do not understand how the phrase is used by doctors. There is no evidence that Covid 19 patients (without heart disease) do better without Chloroquine. I learn that “evidence based medicine” does not imply choosing the therapy that a fair balance of evidence suggests is best for the patient. Pharmaceuticals are presumed guilty until proven safe and effective. The evidence is treated as evidence in a criminal trial with the burden of proof on the pharmaceutical.
I have no idea what “standard medical procedure” might mean in the context of Covid 19. it appears that as soon as a new disease is discovered, there is a standard procedure for treating it, which can’t be based on data or evidence.
The story has a happy ending, but it is not reassuring. It also doesn’t surprise me.