Rio Giardinieri, a 52-year-old Florida man who was infected with the coronavirus and had already said goodbye to his wife and kids, and friends, believes hydroxychloroquine saved his life. He is scheduled to leave the hospital today.
Doctors at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in South Florida diagnosed him with the coronavirus and pneumonia and put him on oxygen in the ICU, he told the NY Post this week.
After more than a week, doctors told him there was nothing more they could do and, on Friday evening, Giardinieri said goodbye to his wife, three children, family, and friends.
“I was at the point where I was barely able to speak and breathing was very challenging,” Giardinieri said. “I really thought my end was there.”
THE FRIEND ON A PRAYER LINE
His situation was dire until a friend on a prayer line sent him a recent article about hydroxychloroquine, a prescription drug that’s been used to treat malaria for decades and auto-immune diseases like lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The drug has been used in the United States since 1946, but using it for Cov-19 would be off label.
The President has been harshly criticized for mentioning the drug at press conferences while Dr. Fauci has talked about the need for more tests before committing to its efficacy. Dr. Fauci never said don’t try the drug. The media has used the issue to attempt to draw a wedge between the President and Dr. Fauci.
Giardinieri said he contacted an infectious disease doctor about the drug from his hospital be.
“He gave me all the reasons why I would probably not want to try it because there are no trials, there’s no testing, it was not something that was approved,” said Giardinieri.
“And I said, ‘Look, I don’t know if I’m going to make it until the morning,’ because at that point I really thought I was coming to the end because I couldn’t breathe anymore,” Giardinieri continued.
THE OVERNIGHT CURE
Doctors gave him the drug and overnight he recovered. We must mention here that it doesn’t work for everyone, especially not so spectacularly.
After about an hour on an IV with the medicine, Giardinieri said, it felt like his heart was beating out of his chest and, about two hours later, he had another episode where he couldn’t breathe.
He says he was given Benadryl and some other drugs and that when he woke up around 4:45 a.m., it was “like nothing ever happened.”
He’s since had no fever or pain and can breathe again. Giardinieri said doctors believe the episodes he experienced were not a reaction to the medicine but his body fighting off the virus.
Giardinieri is the vice president of a company that manufactures cooking equipment for high-end restaurants in Los Angeles.
“To me, there was no doubt in mind that I wouldn’t make it until morning,” said Giardinieri. “So to me, the drug saved my life.”