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Florida’s Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Supply, OB-GYN Malpractice in Palm Beach County, And Carbon Monoxide Can Poison Boaters

The Regeneron Clinic treatment site in Pembroke Pines at CB Smith Park on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.
Al Diaz
Miami Herald
The Regeneron Clinic treatment site in Pembroke Pines at CB Smith Park on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

Florida’s monoclonal antibody treatment supply was cut by the Biden Administration. Plus, a look into how an OB-GYN doctor injured and killed some of his patients. Also, carbon monoxide can poison boaters even if they're outside.

On this Monday, September 27, on Sundial.

Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Supply Cut

Over the past several weeks, hospitals and state-run sites have treated COVID-19 patients with monoclonal antibodies. This treatment has shown promising outcomes for people with the virus, but it hasn’t been approved for regular use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Biden Administration recently announced that seven states, including Florida, are receiving disproportionate amounts of the free treatments. These states will now receive fewer dosages.

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Governor Ron DeSantis, lawmakers, and hospital executives across the state were not happy to hear this news. DeSantis has credited the antibody treatment for decreasing the number of cases and hospitalizations amid the highest COVID-19 surge in Florida. However, there’s no concrete evidence linking the state’s decrease in hospitalization to use of the monoclonal antibodies.

Now, the state is purchasing 3,000 doses of the treatment from GlaxoSmithKline, a private manufacturer.

Kirby Wilson is the Tampa Bay Times’ state government reporter. He said hospitals, clinics, and any facility trying to get these treatments are concerned with the distribution. Wilson said it was a “private to private situation” between the receivers and the manufacturers.

“Now the federal government has overtaken the distribution such that any clinic that wants treatments will have to get in touch with Health and Human Services. So they sort of added another layer of bureaucracy,” Wilson said. This could slow down the shipping process.

The federal government previously supplied these treatments to states for free, but Wilson added Florida might use the federal pandemic relief money to pay for the 3,000 doses from GlaxoSmithKline.

OB-GYN Malpractice In South Florida

For over 30 years, Dr. Berto Lopez delivered hundreds of babies in Palm Beach County. But, during his lengthy career, he faced numerous complaints — patients were injured, and six infants and mothers died under his care. Lopez's license was revoked earlier this year.

Holly Baltz of the Palm Beach Post helped investigate this story. She said Lopez faced nine total lawsuits. A typical OB-GYN might see two or three lawsuits in that span of time. All nine of the lawsuits were settled. These settlements mean Lopez didn’t have to accept any responsibility. Baltz spoke to many of the families who were hurt by their experience with him.

“He was so cold. He never apologized,” Baltz said. “He just didn’t seem to have any regard for their feelings even though they’d lost a loved one or had a loved one who was severely injured. Just very cold.”

She also mentioned that Lopez stood before Florida’s Board of Medicine, an organization that monitors and disciplines physicians, three different times. The board reprimanded him and restricted his license before revoking it.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Boaters

Carbon monoxide is one of the top five leading causes of boating deaths. There’s an expansive boating culture in Florida, so these types of deaths are a growing concern.

Dr. Bill Benda is an associate professor of emergency medicine at Florida Atlantic University. He’s also an avid boater, but even he was unaware of the dangers posed by carbon monoxide for boaters especially if they’re hanging out by the stern.

“Boats with gasoline engines have their exhaust at the stern,” Benda said. “People park on sandbars in groups of boats … and they hang around the stern because it’s the easiest place to climb back on.”

Benda suggests turning off your boat's engine if you’re planning to hang out in the water or sit toward the stern. He also mentioned it could take mere seconds for the carbon monoxide to start poisoning you as you inhale those fumes.

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