It’s been less than a week since Rio Giardinieri claimed that his coronavirus was cured overnight by a malaria drug advertised by President Trump and Fox News, and he has no complaints.
“Man, I live and am fun,” Giardinieri told Yahoo News over the phone on Wednesday. “Feel well.”
The 52-year-old said he could finally return to his home in Miami Shores on Tuesday evening after being hospitalized for about a week for coronavirus and pneumonia. The story of Giardinieri’s remarkable recovery, first reported on Monday by a local Fox partner in Los Angeles, quickly became a topic of national news – and speculation – after being picked up by the New York Post and tweeted by President Trump, who she welcomed the news as the “great early result” of the drug, which has not yet been approved for the treatment of coronavirus.
Clinical trials with hydroxychloroquine – a drug used to treat malaria and some autoimmune diseases such as lupus – in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin were due to start in New York on Tuesday, but Trump had touted the unproven drug combination as a “game changer.” for corona virus since last week.
Despite expert warnings that existing evidence of the drug’s effects on coronavirus symptoms is limited and largely anecdotal, Trump’s promotion of prospective treatment has led to stockpiling, restricting access to the life-saving drug for lupus patients, and fatal misinformed attempts at self-medication.
In an attempt to ward off the coronavirus, an Arizona couple reportedly ingested chloroquine phosphate in the 1960s and confused the aquarium cleaning ingredient with the anti-malarial drug the president had advertised on television. The mistake proved fatal to the man and brought his wife into intensive care.
“The only thing that scares me to death are people who record and go out with these stories and diagnose and treat themselves,” said Giardinieri. “You can’t. You have to go to a doctor.”
Giardinieri told Yahoo News that since his recovery he had received messages from many people on social media asking how to take hydroxychloroquine. “I want to” No, no. You got that wrong. It is a dangerous drug. Take this only when it is prescribed and you get your dosage based on your weight and height as well as your body’s reaction. “
Still, he believes it is important to let the public know that “there is hope out there. There is something out there that can heal you. “
“I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. I can only tell you that I am 100 percent convinced that this saved my life,” he said.
No doctor or hospital official involved in his care has been willing to confirm or deny this belief.
Giardinieri said that he had symptoms that started with extreme fatigue about five days before the hospital stay. “I’m a guy who sleeps five hours a day – I’ve had my entire adult life,” he said, but suddenly he slept 12 to 15 hours straight. He soon developed a fever, terrible headache, and persistent pain under his shoulder blades.
“When I arrived at the hospital, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and COVID-19,” said Giardinieri. Although Fox 11 Los Angeles’s first report said Giardinieri was admitted to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, he made it clear that he was actually being treated in the Memorial Regional Hospital, which is next door and part of the same health care system as Joe DiMaggio. A spokesman for the Memorial Healthcare System told Yahoo News that Giardinieri was “never a patient in our pediatric facility, the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. That was reported incorrectly. “However, the spokesman declined to confirm or deny that he had been treated at Memorial Regional and referred to the protection of HIPAA.
According to the report that Giardinieri provided to Yahoo News, the doctors never told him that his diagnosis of the pneumonia-related coronavirus would be fatal, but he was convinced by Friday that he was unlikely to survive.
“It was my feeling based on how it developed, how my heart was doing, how my breathing was doing. It got flatter every day, ”said Giardinieri. So he started turning to family and friends to say goodbye. A friend replied with a text asking him to ask his doctor about hydroxychloroquine, which he had heard about in “The Ingraham Angle”. Fox News presenter Laura Ingraham has spoken several times in her show on Trump’s recommended drugs and even said that she would “like to volunteer” to test the drug to treat the coronavirus.
Giardinieri says he asked a nurse about the medication and then forwarded his request to the doctor. Although the doctor informed Giardinieri that he could not provide him with the drug, he contacted an infectious disease doctor who, after calling Giardinieri, agreed to allow the use of hydroxychloroquine. Thirty minutes later, Giardinieri said, a nurse gave him his first dose in pill form.
The next morning, he says, he woke up completely symptom-free.
In response to the request to confirm Giardinieri’s account, the company spokesman for the Yahoo News hospital said in an email that “the Memorial Healthcare System is unable to discuss the care someone is receiving in one of our facilities or Not. This is a violation of the HIPAA legislation. Our position was and is to fully respect an individual’s right to confidentiality and privacy.
“If Mr. Giardinieri wants to share his information with you, this is his choice,” the email continued. “We follow the CDC guidelines for the care of COVID-19. For more information on the treatment you have referred to, visit their website. “
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website said, “There are no drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.” However, it is noted that “Hydroxychloroquine has been administered uncontrolled to hospitalized COVID-19 patients in several countries, including the United States,” and that the drug is currently being investigated in clinical trials for “treating patients with mild to moderate patients” will and heavy COVID-19. ”
Giardinieri informed Yahoo News that he was asked by the hospital not to provide names of doctors or other workers who treated him.
“They don’t want to honor the pill. They say it could be related to other things that they did,” he said. “And I understand your position. You don’t want to be responsible for something that hasn’t been scientifically tested . ”
Giardinieri said that despite asking for a new coronavirus test, the hospital refused to retest it to confirm that he had actually been cured of the virus. Even though he was released from the hospital, he said he was still under a state quota for self-quarantine and told Yahoo News that he needed to register with the Florida Department of Health on Wednesday morning. And he takes hydroxychloroquine for two more days.
Giardinieri reiterated that he did not advise anyone to take hydroxychloroquine himself and acknowledged the hospital’s reluctance to support this unproven treatment.
When asked why he still wanted to tell his story despite these qualifications, he still said, “Are you kidding me? If you are on the verge of death and have had a fever, backache, and headache for nine days and a friend of yours suggests it, ask for it, take it, and be symptom free within 10 hours? I think the world has to know that. “
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