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This Is Brazil | The Early Treatment That Kills

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

On September 21, Piauí, an investigative journalism magazine, published an article about a treatment received by Anthony Wong, patient and doctor on the health insurance network Prevent Senior. He was hospitalized with symptoms of Covid-19 and received the “Covid kit”: chloroquine, ivermectin and other medicines that are ineffective in treating the disease, but defended by some politicians in Brazil.

According to the text, “on the ninth day of treatment, Wong developed digestive bleeding that, according to his chart, was reversed in less than 24 hours after he received blood transfusions. For the remainder of the intubation period, he stopped being medicated with the ‘Covid kit’ – he was left only with ozone therapy and intravenous methotrexate. Wong also developed kidney failure and underwent frequent dialysis sessions, which filter the blood when the kidney can no longer eliminate toxins from the body. The doctor was also taken off intubation and underwent a more invasive tracheostomy procedure, which involves inserting a tube into the windpipe to allow breathing”.

“By the end of his days, the doctor had been infected with bacterial pneumonia that would not yield to the medication applied. It was another consequence of Covid since mechanical respiration offers the risk of bacterial infections. The infection spread throughout his body, resulting in septic shock, which caused organ failure and cardiac arrest”. Wong died of Covid-19 on January 15 of 2021, but his death certificate does not show it.

Like many in the hospital network, he was against the vaccination campaign and participated in an event with other physicians that criticized the social isolation and defended the early treatment, also saying that “If tests were done as have been done in other countries, we would find perhaps that the rate of immunity in the general population is also high, specifically for Covid-19”.

On October 7, Tadeu Frederico de Andrade, 65 years old, a patient of Prevent Senior, testified to the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, the “CPI da Covid”. He stated that right after start feeling the first symptoms of the disease, made an appointment via telemedicine, after which the physician who attended him said they would send medicine to his house.

After five days, Andrade got worse and was hospitalized and intubated, where he passed through intensive care for 30 days. “When one of my daughters received a phone call notifying that I would go into palliative care. (…) there, according to the words of the doctor, I would have more dignity and comfort, and that my death would occur in a few days”. The equipment that kept him alive was to be shut down and the orientation was for no resuscitation, despite the family’s disagreement with that.  

On the same day, a former physician of Prevent Senior, Walter Correa de Souza Neto, said that there was pressure to prescribe the “Covid kit” and to the adoption of palliative care, even when the patient had conditions to be treated.

Several physicians of the network reported the practices and were threatened. The lawyer of the professionals, Bruna Mendes Morato, attended the CPI on September 28 and exposed some of the irregularities: conceal deaths in an unauthorized study of the efficiency of hydroxychloroquine and orientation not to notify family members. 

Threats were made by the executive director of the company, Pedro Benedito Batista Júnior, who stated for one of the physicians that denounced the practices, by phone call, that the doctor would be “exposing his daughter and family”. Questioned if this was intimidation, he said it was “advice”.

Prevent Senior, now being investigated by the commission and São Paulo state prosecution, is one of the only companies to offer more affordable health insurance plans for the elderly. As a form of defense, the enterprise wants to prove that the physicians that are exposing the pressure to use the “Covid kit” prescribed it for themselves and their relatives.

And, as could not be otherwise, there is presidential involvement. Last year, Jair Bolsonaro and his sons made posts about the “study” being conducted on Prevent Senior, mentioning that five deaths occurred among those that did not take chloroquine and none among those who had it. This data is false. Nine died in the survey, of which six took the drugs.

Documents in possession of the CPI show that a group for the sharing of information about early treatment – time and time again said to be ineffective by the whole scientific community – existed between employees of Prevent Senior and supporters of the president.

According to the dossier presented to the commission, the dissemination of the chloroquine and other drugs was a result of a deal between Jair Bolsonaro government and Prevent Senior.

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The article above was edited by Gabriela Sartorato.  

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