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West Texas doctor goes viral with claim of COVID “cure”

Permian Basin medical leaders are pushing back against Dr. Richard Bartlett's statements
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 7:13 PM CDT
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WEST TEXAS (KOSA) - It’s been almost three weeks since West Texas doctor Richard Bartlett held a press conference touting his steroid-based treatment for the coronavirus. Now news outlets around the country have picked up the story, and other doctors in the Permian Basin are warning that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.

In an interview with a Dallas-based show called America Can We Talk?, Dr. Bartlett shared the story of an Odessa woman who he treated using a steroid called budesonide, inhaled through a nebulizer.

“She’s cured of COVID,” Bartlett said. “She’s symptom free. She has her two consecutive negative tests. That’s a cure.”

Bartlett has previously referred to his treatment as a “silver bullet” for the coronavirus.

The national attention that Bartlett’s claims have received has Permian Basin medical leaders concerned.

“As of right now, there is no widespread use of budesonide,” Dr. Rohith Saravanan, the Chief Medical Officer at Odessa Regional Medical Center, said. “And that’s not what the NIH recommends.”

“I just want to caution everybody to be careful,” Dr. Larry Wilson, CMO at Midland Memorial Hospital, said. “If it’s being described as a silver bullet, if you’re hearing about things that are just so perfect that it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

In the aforementioned interview, Bartlett also claimed that other nations, like Taiwan, have been using a method similar to his, and that it’s the reason that country only has seven COVID related deaths among its 24 million people.

“That’s seven people dying out of 442 total cases,” Wilson said. “Which is about a 1.5 percent mortality rate, which isn’t different from the mortality rate in Midland. So there hasn’t been a reduction in mortality [in Taiwan]. And the reduction in cases is related to social distancing, face coverings, and protecting oneself from exposure.”

Bartlett said that he’s sent copies of his unpublished work to Senator Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump.

We reached out to Bartlett for this story, but did not hear back.

Copyright 2020 KOSA. All rights reserved.

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