Columnists Should Be Taken With ‘A Grain Of Salt’

To The Reader’s Forum:

In Margot Russell’s column, “A Game Changer for Coronavirus,” in the Weekend Life section, April 11, credit is given to President Trump’s touting of the use of Hydroxychloroquine in saving the life of Michigan State Rep. Karen Whittsett.

Much has been made of the fact that a Democrat would endorse a recommendation by this president. The implication being that most democrats hate Trump so much that they would endanger their own lives and the lives of others, just to score political points. Ms. Russell seems to be saying that people who argue that clinical trials are necessary are making a political argument rather than a practical one. While the drug combination described may indeed have saved the life of Rep. Whittsett, relying on anecdotal and even some empirical evidence to claim this treatment should come into widespread use immediately, is dangerous. According to WebMD, for people with certain common conditions, such as low blood sugar, anemia, alcoholism, and psoriasis, to name a few; the use of Hydroxychloroquine is contraindicated. Possible side-effects include severe and irreversible damage to the retina — in other words, blindness, and in some cases, even death.

Doctors and research scientists are working to gather as much information and evidence as they can, as quickly as they can, to address this unprecedented health crisis. They may decide that the possible benefits outweigh the risks of rushing this treatment into general use; but until that is the consensus of health professionals, the advice of politicians and columnists should be taken with “a grain of salt.”

Rachel Brown



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