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Italy: Doctor aims for the ‘humanisation of medicine’ as he resumes home treatment of COVID patients06:00

Italy: Doctor aims for the ‘humanisation of medicine’ as he resumes home treatment of COVID patients

Italy, Piacenza
October 28, 2020 at 18:36 GMT +00:00 · Published

Luigi Cavanna, a senior oncologist in Piacenza, has resumed treating coronavirus patients in their homes, and was seen doing a round of visits on October 24.

Cavanna, a long advocate for home treatment in COVID-19 cases, was already on deck during the first wave of the pandemic in Italy. In full protective kit, he multiplied his visits to suspected cases to give early treatment in an attempt to relieve swamped emergency wards.

Cavanna attends mostly elderly and isolated patients and wows to uphold a more 'humane' aspect of medicine.

"Medicine is not just about administering drugs or removing organs from the sick. Medicine is something more complex," Cavanna emphasised.

"This is what is missing from today's medicine. It has become impersonal".

On deciding to treat patients at home, Cavanna explained that "many sick people asked to be treated at home. They asked me to say 'if I go to the hospital I will never go home.'"

"So this strengthened me," he added.

What he, along with other medical colleagues are aiming for is "the humanisation of medicine."

According to reports, Cavanna had been treating his patients with an antiviral medication. He has also been administering hydroxychloroquine, a medication primarily used to prevent and treat malaria, as well as rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. The drug caused division earlier in the pandemic after anecdotal reports of its effectiveness against the virus began to spread, even gaining the support of US President Donald Trump, who claimed to be taking it as a preventative measure and ordered an emergency use authorisation for the treatment.

The drug, however, lacks hard evidence backed by clinical trials that demonstrate its effectiveness. Many doctors have nevertheless claimed success with the drug, including Dr Cavanna.

"There was in vitro evidence that they worked as against the proliferation of the virus. And we used it on patients at home because it is easy to administer," Cavanna said, adding that "a publication was published in an authoritative journal of the scientific world in which it was highlighted that Hydroxychloroquine not only was not effective but could be detrimental. The study was then withdrawn because it was considered untrue."

Earlier this year, AIFA, Italy's equivalent to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice to health workers to exercise caution when prescribing hydroxychloriquine together with the anti-viral medication.

Authorities in Italy have implemented new measures to control a surge in COVID-19 cases and prevent a second national lockdown.

Restaurants and bars have to close at 18:00 (17:00 GMT), theatres and cinemas are completely closed, as well as swimming pools and fitness studios. Sporting events have also been cancelled.

As of Wednesday, Italy has registered 564,778 cases of coronavirus with 37,700 deaths related to it, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Italy: Doctor aims for the ‘humanisation of medicine’ as he resumes home treatment of COVID patients06:00
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Luigi Cavanna, a senior oncologist in Piacenza, has resumed treating coronavirus patients in their homes, and was seen doing a round of visits on October 24.

Cavanna, a long advocate for home treatment in COVID-19 cases, was already on deck during the first wave of the pandemic in Italy. In full protective kit, he multiplied his visits to suspected cases to give early treatment in an attempt to relieve swamped emergency wards.

Cavanna attends mostly elderly and isolated patients and wows to uphold a more 'humane' aspect of medicine.

"Medicine is not just about administering drugs or removing organs from the sick. Medicine is something more complex," Cavanna emphasised.

"This is what is missing from today's medicine. It has become impersonal".

On deciding to treat patients at home, Cavanna explained that "many sick people asked to be treated at home. They asked me to say 'if I go to the hospital I will never go home.'"

"So this strengthened me," he added.

What he, along with other medical colleagues are aiming for is "the humanisation of medicine."

According to reports, Cavanna had been treating his patients with an antiviral medication. He has also been administering hydroxychloroquine, a medication primarily used to prevent and treat malaria, as well as rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. The drug caused division earlier in the pandemic after anecdotal reports of its effectiveness against the virus began to spread, even gaining the support of US President Donald Trump, who claimed to be taking it as a preventative measure and ordered an emergency use authorisation for the treatment.

The drug, however, lacks hard evidence backed by clinical trials that demonstrate its effectiveness. Many doctors have nevertheless claimed success with the drug, including Dr Cavanna.

"There was in vitro evidence that they worked as against the proliferation of the virus. And we used it on patients at home because it is easy to administer," Cavanna said, adding that "a publication was published in an authoritative journal of the scientific world in which it was highlighted that Hydroxychloroquine not only was not effective but could be detrimental. The study was then withdrawn because it was considered untrue."

Earlier this year, AIFA, Italy's equivalent to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice to health workers to exercise caution when prescribing hydroxychloriquine together with the anti-viral medication.

Authorities in Italy have implemented new measures to control a surge in COVID-19 cases and prevent a second national lockdown.

Restaurants and bars have to close at 18:00 (17:00 GMT), theatres and cinemas are completely closed, as well as swimming pools and fitness studios. Sporting events have also been cancelled.

As of Wednesday, Italy has registered 564,778 cases of coronavirus with 37,700 deaths related to it, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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