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Elgin woman dies from COVID-19 amid family’s court bid for access to controversial drug ivermectin

Maria and Sebastian Abbinanti of Elgin are in critical condition fighting COVID-19 at Amita Health St. Joseph Hospital. A lawyer for the couple's family has filed a lawsuit seeking to allow the couple's doctor to administer the drug ivermectin in hopes of saving their lives.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the date of Maria Abbinanti’s death. Her lawyer said she died Tuesday night.

An Elgin woman, who had been on a ventilator fighting COVID-19 and whose family sought to have the controversial drug ivermectin administered to her, died late Tuesday night.

Attorney Patrick Walsh said Maria Abbinanti died at 11:20 p.m. Dec. 21, and Kane County Coroner Rob Russell confirmed that she had died at Amita St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin. She was 40 years old.

Her husband, Sebastian Abbinanti, 41, who is also battling the virus, remains hospitalized. The couple have three boys, ages 12, 9 and 4.

Attorney Patrick Walsh filed an emergency motion Dec. 15 in Kane County on behalf of the couple, seeking ivermectin, a treatment their doctor and family members hoped could help them. However, on Friday, Kane County Judge Robert Villa denied the temporary order that would have green-lit access to the drug.

Walsh responded by filing an expedited appeal of the order denying the temporary restraining order. The hospital had two days to respond to the appeal and then the court will rule within five days after that. No arguments will occur as part of this expedited appeal.

Ivermectin is a drug approved for human use to treat infections caused by some parasitic worms, head lice and skin conditions such as rosacea. The Food and Drug Administration, however, has not approved or authorized the drug for use in preventing or treating COVID-19, according to FDA.gov.

A different formulation of the drug is used to treat or prevent parasites in animals as well.

As news of Maria Abbinanti’s death spread, tears streamed down the faces of community members, friends and family as they gathered for a rally to honor the couple on Wednesday morning outside the hospital.

“We’re trying to make sure these kids don’t become orphans,” said organizer Chrissi Bretz of Geneva.

In a court filing, Dr. Sergei Lipov, a physician treating the couple, said he had consulted with a physician working in the ICU, and both doctors agreed that it is “very reasonable to initiate this drug in view of poor prognosis” for the couple.

“The hospital is interfering with the doctor-patient relationship and usurping Dr. Lipov’s authority to prescribe care for his patient,” according to Walsh’s filing.

However, when the doctors attempted to write the prescription they were told that it is against Amita Health and the hospital’s policy to administer the drug for treatment of COVID-19 patients, according to a court filing. Ivermectin was taken out of the electronic prescription system and cannot be written at all, Lipov said in the document.