By Tina Burnside, CNN
The suit accuses the Washington County Detention Center, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder, jail physician Dr. Robert Karas and Karas Correctional Health of administering Ivermectin to the inmates without prior informed consent as to the nature, contents or potential side effects of the drug.
Plaintiffs Edrick Floreal-Wooten, Jeremiah Little, Julio Gonzales, and Dayman Blackburn allege they were deceived over a period of days — and possibly weeks — after receiving “high amounts” of Ivermectin.
The lawsuit, filed on January 13 in the US District Court of Western Arkansas, states that the plaintiffs say they were given Ivermectin as early as November 2020, but didn’t become aware of the treatment until July 2021 — instead being told their treatment consisted of “vitamins,” “antibiotics,” and/or “steroids.”
In August 2021 at a county budget hearing Sheriff Tim Helder confirmed that Karas Correctional Health had been prescribing Ivermectin as a treatment at the detention center, the ACLU said in a news release.
Last year the sheriff’s office defended the practice to the local paper, saying that all treatment is voluntary.
Karas also publicly defended his practice on August 25, 2021, stating that there had been no Covid-19 deaths reported out of the 531 cases in the jail at the time, the lawsuit states.
The State Arkansas Medical Board has opened an investigation into the matter, CNN has previously reported. Arkansas Department of Health spokesperson Danyelle McNeill told CNN that Karas is scheduled to appear in person before the board on February 3.
The suit also alleges that the defendants knowingly and intentionally disregarded US Food and Drug Administration warnings against using the drug to treat Covid-19. Last March, the FDA cautioned against using Ivermectin to attempt to treat or prevent Covid-19.
The FDA noted that it has not approved ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19 in humans and that the drug is not an anti-viral medication. “Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm,” the announcement said.
In a news release, Gary Sullivan, legal director of the ACLU of Arkansas accused the detention center of failing to use safe and appropriate treatments for Covid-19, even in the midst of a pandemic.
“No one — including incarcerated individuals — should be deceived and subject to medical experimentation. Sheriff Helder has a responsibility to provide food, shelter, and safe, appropriate care to incarcerated individuals,” Sullivan said.
In a statement to CNN, Washington County Sheriff’s Office said they are unable to comment on pending litigation. CNN has also reached out to Karas Correctional Health.
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.