MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - The West Texas doctor who claims to have the silver bullet for COVID-19 was invited to speak at Monday’s Midland County Commissioners’ Court. Commisioner Randy Prude asked Dr. Richard Bartlett to speak at the meeting.
The West Texas doctor has gotten national and, according to Bartlett himself, even international attention for his use of an inhaled steroid to treat COVID-19.
Midland Memorial Hospital has said it will not use Bartlett’s treatment, because they say it has not been shown to help those who are hospitalized.
During the meeting, Commissioner Scott Ramsey questioned whether it was appropriate for Bartlett to be given this platform.
“No disrespect intended on this statement: I don’t think this was the proper forum for this,” Ramsey told Bartlett. “I know you’re a wonderful doctor, but county commissioners’ court, I just don’t think this is it.”
Bartlett then fired back.
“I don’t know why it would be inappropriate, if you have a clinic for your employees and you’re involved in healthcare to some degree, I’m confused why you would say it’s not appropriate to talk about healthcare,” Bartlett said.
Ramsey said that could be addressed at another time, and then asked Bartlett questions he said came from constituents.
One was how many of Bartlett’s patients had actually tested positive for the coronavirus?
“Actually we have multiple clinics that are using this protocol,” Bartlett replied. “Just one of them had 200 that have tested positive. 100% survival. That’s just one of the many clinics. Next question.”
As in other interviews, Bartlett actually used the word “cure” when talking about his treatment.
“We’re talking about patients who become symptom free, and then have two consecutive negatives,” he said. “That’s the definition of a cure from COVID. So I have story after story of happy endings.”
If you’re interested the whole meeting can be found on YouTube.
Additionally, Bartlett has set up a website where people can read what he says is his full case study report about his inhaled budesonide treatments.
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Budesonide, an inhaled corticosteroid, has continued helping some patients recover from COVID-19, though not as many as Dr. Richard Bartlett would like to see.
The emergency and primary care physician in West Texas promotes budesonide as a viable treatment for supportive care of those with the inflammatory response that often accompanies COVID-19 infection.
According to Bartlett, budesonide decreases the cytokine storm, wherein the body attacks its own cells and tissues rather than just fighting off the virus — which can lead to death.
He’s pleased with two studies that validate how budesonide can reduce the number of days on a mechanical ventilator.
Both studies, which were released in 2017 and 2018, show a significant benefit to patients on mechanical ventilation by reducing the inflammatory cytokines and decreasing the time to wean a patient from the ventilator.
Brenda Jones of Odessa recently experienced a serious case and was placed on a ventilator at Medical Center Hospital. She was in the hospital for a month and attributes her recovery to budesonide.
Her husband, Richard, took her to the emergency room on October 17 when the 55-year-old woman’s oxygen level started getting low. Due to damage to her lungs in her youth, the Jones’ keep a close eye on Brenda’s oxygen level. She even has oxygen at home for when it is needed.
According to Richard, upon arriving at the hospital, nurses tested Brenda for coronavirus and found her to be positive. She was moved to critical care and placed on a ventilator.
After three days of Brenda’s being on the ventilator with no improvement, her husband said his daughter-in-law told him about Dr. Bartlett and the success in using budesonide. Richard reached out to his wife’s treating physician, who he says refused to use the treatment, calling it experimental.
Not long after, Richard said another doctor from the hospital called him to suggest that Brenda be moved to hospice care and that he prepare for an end-of-life visit before she was removed from the ventilator.
Richard wasn’t ready to give up on Brenda and refused that option. He says that the doctor then called his youngest adult daughter, Ashley, and his son, Chris, to try to get them to agree to hospice care. Richard was furious because he felt the hospital was giving up on Brenda and trying to circumvent his discretion as her spouse.
The next day, Richard, Bartlett, and an attorney were able to speak to the hospital administration and the treating physician who agreed to try budesonide.
Within an hour, Richard reported, Brenda’s oxygen level increased from 80 to 95 and the ventilator was reduced to 80 percent.
She was treated once every six hours, although Dr. Bartlett recommends the treatment every two hours.
After 18 days total, Brenda came off the ventilator and twelve days after that, on November 16, she returned home.
After she started recovering, Richard said the hospice suggestion never came up again.
He said the doctors had given her Remdesivir and antibody therapy, but that the budesonide is what really worked.
“I think Dr. Bartlett is a very good Christian who knows what he is talking about. What he’s doing is helping people. My Brenda wouldn’t be here today. The budesonide brought her back around; I’m certain of that,” Jones told The Texan.
Bartlett is building a network of doctors who understand the use of budesonide in COVID-19 cases and can help patients in need.
“I am convinced that the hospitalization rate could be decreased quickly if this protocol was enacted as an early treatment strategy,” Bartlett told The Texan.
He urges patients to check with their primary care doctor first to ask for treatment.
“If you already have a relationship with a primary care physician and they know your history, start there. Show them the studies and ask them to try,” Barlett emphasized.
He has ethical concerns that have risen with COVID-19 treatment. Bartlett says he hears from people who can’t reach the treating physician for days when asking for information about their loved ones treatment.
“Doctors have a responsibility to have family involved in treatment options,” Bartlett stated, adding that there are “many good doctors and most doctors want to do the right thing.”
Medical Center Hospital did not reply to a request for comment.
A local West Texas doctor believes he has come up with an approach to effectively treat COVID-19. Dr. Richard Bartlett has practiced medicine in Texas for 28 years, and according to his claims, he advised ex-Governor Rick Perry’s for several years. Dr. Bartlett does a regular weekly radio update on COVID-19 in West Texas. The doctor found himself in hot water for declaring that the treatment of inhaled steroid (ICS) Budesonide is a ‘silver bullet’ for treating COVID-19. TrialSite News responds with a few points here: First, the doctor knows all too well the politics and regulatory considerations of the U.S. healthcare system to make such claims. Second, he is not alone in considering this approach, as world-renowned universities such as England’s Oxford University are also studying this type of regimen. Third, as Dr. Bartlett is part of a movement of community doctors demonstrating practical potential approaches to reducing the severity of the pandemic, any real-world data should be embraced rather than ridiculed, and if promising, rapidly incorporated into research. Fourth, that certain societal forces will pounce on one mistake in messaging in an attempt to tarnish an entir...
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Some Texas Doctors Are Treating COVID Patients With A ‘Silver Bullet’ Drug That Hasn’t Been Fully Tested
One night in late June, while his wife and children slept, Javier Bejarano typed out his will. Bejarano, a contractor from Odessa, had contracted COVID-19. He could barely breathe, his lungs had become so inflamed from the virus.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Bejarano said. “I was afraid to go to sleep because I was afraid I wasn’t going to wake up.”
He was scared, unsure of what would happen to him and his family. He was just about to go to the emergency room, when he reached out to a friend of his, who connected him with Dr. Richard Bartlett, a west Texas physician.
Bejarano had seen Dr. Bartlett give interviews about a treatment for COVID-19 that he called the “COVID silver bullet.” The main component was a drug called budesonide: an asthma medication taken through an inhaler or a nebulizer.
Dr. Bartlett prescribed budesonide to Bejarano. The relief was immediate.
“When you’re breathing that stuff in man, it’s like a goodness,” Bejarano said. “I finally felt like I could breathe. I could sleep at night.”
“We Have Cracked The Code”
Dr. Bartlett has been prescribing budesonide to coronavirus patients for months. It’s an old, proven medication that’s relatively inexpensive and readily available. He said he stumbled upon the idea to use budesonide for COVID patients during an emergency room shift in March.
“I laid down for a cat nap between patients. I woke up convinced that God had given me a winning strategy. And a week later I had to try it out on my first two patients, and for every patient it’s working,” Bartlett said on streaming talk show America, Can We Talk?
Dr. Bartlett works at an emergency clinic in Lubbock, and has privileges at three hospitals in west Texas, according to the Texas Medical Board. When asked, he didn’t say exactly how many people he’s treated, but he estimated that he and other doctors have prescribed budesonide to over 400 patients.
“My focus right now is not on tabulating numbers, my focus is not on curves and waves. My focus is on real Americans who need life-saving measures,” he said.
In addition to budesonide, Dr. Bartlett prescribes zinc, aspirin, and clarithromycin, which prevents bacterial infection. But the budesonide, he says, is the key.
The idea behind Dr. Bartlett’s treatment is to target inflammation in the lungs caused by the body’s response to COVID-19. In its fight against the virus, the body’s immune system can get out of control – like a runaway train – and cause inflammation in the lungs. Budesonide is anti-inflammatory that targets the lungs. Inhaling the steroid effectively slams on the immune system’s breaks. The earlier you take it, the better.
“We have cracked the code,” Dr. Bartlett said in one of his appearances on America, Can We Talk? “We have an answer for this. We don’t need another answer. We have an answer.”
That message is getting out there.
Dr. Bartlett’s first appearance on ‘America Can We Talk’ had millions of views on YouTube. Representative Louie Gohmert, a Republican from east Texas who contracted the coronavirus, mentioned Dr. Bartlett and budesonide in an interview about his treatment. The drug also came up during a taped Q&A between Matthew McConaughey Dr. Anthony Fauci last week.
“You know, there are people that believe that budesonide and taking zinc is working [against the coronavirus]. Is there any downside to doing it?” McConaughey asked.
“You know, there’s a placebo effect to make you feel better, and less anxious, but in reality, Matthew, it doesn’t have any effect,” said Fauci.
An Untested Treatment
As much as Dr. Bartlett has talked budesonide up as a silver bullet, as much as patients like Bejarano swear that it saved their life, there’s no evidence from clinical trials to prove that it works for COVID patients.
Some physicians think it’s dangerous to call a drug a silver bullet when it hasn’t even been tested for the virus.
“I think if you ask a lot of different doctors, I think most would say that when we hear about a silver bullet treatment, I think our ears perk up but not necessarily in the way of ‘Oh I can’t wait to get my hands on that,’” said Doctor Anoop Nambiar, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and a pulmonologist at the South Texas Veterans Administration hospital.
Clinical trials typically include hundreds or thousands of patients. The case study Dr. Bartlett published on his website includes two patients.
“The last thing I want to do for a patient of mine is give them a treatment for which I cannot say with certainty how much does it truly help, but then also be aware that it can hurt somebody and make them worse,” said Dr. Nambiar.
Other physicians said they wouldn’t use budesonide unless it had been fully vetted for COVID, regardless of anecdotal evidence. Dr. Bartlett said he’s not worried about those concerns.
He said his patients’ results show that the treatment works, and that countries with few COVID-related deaths like Taiwan and Japan can trace their success back to inhaled corticosteroids – not government-mandated mask wearing and social distancing. But there’s little evidenceto support this.
Dr. Bartlett also defended the drug by pointing to trials that are happening right now, where physicians are testing budesonide and similar drugs for COVID patients.
One of them is being conducted by the Universities of Oxford and Queensland – and it may show some promise. The trial will test inhaled budesonide on about 500 coronavirus patients to test whether the steroid can mitigate the virus’ respiratory symptoms. One of the researchers, Dan Nicolau, a physician and professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, is confident the drug will help.
“Almost no matter how you look at it, it’s difficult to see a version of the future where this does not turn out to be helpful,” Dr. Nicolau said.
In fact, from the research Dr. Nicoulau’s done so far, he’s confident that the question is not whether budesonide will help, but how much.
“There’s a big difference if we keep 10 percent of people out of hospital versus 60 percent. Both would be useful, but if we keep 60 percent of people out of hospital, then, well, that’s the kind of thing we throw a barbecue over,” said Dr. Nicolau.
Dr. Nicolau expects to complete the study this fall. He thinks the data will show that budesonide is a useful tool to help COVID patients – but not at the exclusion of social distancing, or a vaccine. A trusty socket wrench, if not a silver bullet.
“It’s Enough For Me”
In the meantime, some healthcare providers are following Dr. Bartlett’s lead, even without a full clinical trial. Andrea Malcolm is a nurse anesthesiologist at Frio Regional Hospital, about an hour south of San Antonio. In late June and early July, the hospital’s 25 beds started to fill up with COVID patients. Some just wouldn’t get better.
“Sometimes they would be there for six, seven days, and kind of look the same, and then all of a sudden they would just start going down,” Malcolm said.
Malcolm is the only critical care provider at the hospital – the doctors there practice family medicine. There were times earlier this summer when she was practically living at the hospital, occasionally sleeping there overnight.
When she and the hospital’s CEO, John Hughson, saw one of Dr. Bartlett’s videos making the rounds on Facebook, they figured it couldn’t hurt to give budesonide a try. From Malcolm’s perspective, she couldn’t afford not to try it.
“If we waited on double blind peer reviewed studies, we would have so many people dead, what would be the point? So for me, if I’m not adding a risk, it’s worth seeing if there’s a benefit,” Malcolm said.
And she says she’s had good results – most of the patients she’s treated with the drug have gone home, rather than to a bigger hospital for more extensive treatment. She knows that without a full trial, she can’t be positive that it’s the budesonide at work and not some other variable. And she knows that her sample size is small – less than 40 patients. But what results she does have are enough for her to keep using it.
“It’s enough for me,” Malcolm said. “It’s enough for me to know that I’m not putting tubes in people’s throats, knowing that they might not ever get them out.”
Youtube richard bartlett
Local doctor believes he has found 'silver bullet' for COVID-19
ODESSA, Texas — One West Texas doctor believes he’s found a “silver bullet” for COVID-19.
Richard Bartlett’s been an emergency room doctor here in the Basin for 28 years. He works across the region at various hospitals and clinics.
The past three months he has been treating high-risk COVID-19 patients, like the elderly, those with heart disease and cancer, with an inhaled steroid called Budesonide.
A drug commonly used to treat asthma.
“It’s an inhaled steroid that doesn’t have the side effects of total body steroids but it has the benefits," Bartlett said.
Dr. Bartlett says COVID-19 starts in the respiratory system but then triggers a severe inflammatory process, called Cytokine Storms, that eventually leads to multi-organ failure and death.
But the inhaled steroid helps to prevent that inflammation.
“It’s like putting out a fire at the base of the fire," Bartlett said. "I’m having patients recover so quick.”
One West Texas doctor believes he’s found a “silver bullet” for COVID-19. Richard Bartlett’s been an emergency room doctor here in the Basin for 28 years. The past three months he’s been treating high-risk COVID-19 patients, like the elderly and those with heart disease and cancer, with aN inhaled steroid called Budesonide. A drug commonly used to treat asthma. I caught up with the doctor this afternoon to find out more about the treatment.Posted by Sammi Steele on Thursday, May 21, 2020
Bartlett says patients with COVID-19 get prescribed Budesonide and then use a nebulizer and breath in the steroid twice a day.
His patients tell him within one treatment they were feeling better.
“For five days she was on her back, couldn’t get out of bed then after her first treatment she felt better," Bartlett said. "She then returned to her job that Monday.”
So far, Bartlett’s seen a 100 percent success rate in the 12 patients he has seen.
Even in his high-risk patients.
“One patient I had, had a 50-year history of smoking and multiple bypass surgeries," Bartlett said. "She felt better immediately, total recover."
Bartlett says the medicine has been out for 25 years.
It is FDA approved but not for treating COVID-19.
"I have never seen it work so good for any other process like this, it’s like this medicine was made for this pandemic.”
Bartlett hopes other doctors begin to use this process to help their COVID-19 patients in order to prevent them from having to go to the ICU or be put on a ventilator.
With Bartlett seeing so much success, European studies will begin on the protocol Bartlett's being doing next month.
NewsWest 9 will update you on what those studies find.
Midland Memorial Hospital is responding to Bartlett's claims. In a statement sent to NewsWest 9 the Lawrence Wilson, the vice president of medical affairs, said:
There is no strong information about inhaled steroids and COVID-19. There's debate on both sides as to whether they are harmful or helpful. I would most definitely NOT call inhaled steroids a “silver bullet”.
From a recent article on the topic:
“At present, there is no evidence as to whether pre-morbid use or continued administration of ICS (inhaled corticosteroids) is a factor for adverse or beneficial outcomes in acute respiratory infections due to coronavirus."
Some arguments against its use include: delayed viral clearance has been seen with systemic steroids, patients with COPD who are on an inhaled corticosteroid have higher incidence of pneumonia
Some arguments for it: the prevalence of COPD patients, many of whom use ICS, in the cohort of patients with COVID is lower than in the general public which is interesting but proves nothing, and there is some in vitro data that may show some inhibitory effects on the virus.
There is a clinical trial in France looking at adding Symbicort (another ICS like Budesonide) to standard of care. It is not completed and has no preliminary results for or against.
There is no evidence to suggest inhaled steroids inactivate, kill or clear the virus. Inhaled, oral and IV steroids are sometimes used for patients in ARDS but have no direct antiviral activity, therefore we would not recommend taking budesonide as a treatment or prophylaxis for COVID-19.
Midland Health does not advocate the use of an ICS as preventative nor as a universally used treatment for COVID-19 infections.
Above is an interview with Dr. Richard Bartlett published to YouTube by America Can We Talk? with Debbie Georgatos and a runtime of 31:11. Here you will learn there is an alternative treatment for the covid-19 virus that has been working for Dr. Bartlett with a 100% cure rate. As an early treatment for covid-19, Dr. Bartlett administers the steroid drug budesonide using a nebulizer. Thank you Debbie for sharing this great work with us and giving us another perspective on the solutions to covid-19. Truly Exceptional!
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VERIFY: No, this Texas doctor has not discovered a cure for COVID-19 using 'inhaled steroids'
HOUSTON — Has a Texas doctor discovered a cure for COVID-19? It’s a question many people have asked the VERIFY team after watching a video that has gone viral on social media.
The 30-minute YouTube interview features Texas physician Dr. Richard Bartlett, who claims to have found a cure for COVID-19.
“The silver bullet is inhaled steroids,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett claims he has been successfully treating his COVID-19 patients with the steroid Budesonide.
“You use a nebulizer machine. It’s an asthma medicine. It’s a respiratory anti-inflammatory for COVID, which is a respiratory inflammatory disease and it works. 100% of my patients are alive,” Bartlett said.
He claims Japan, Singapore and Iceland have lower death rates because they are using inhaled steroids as forms of treatment.
“Guess how many people have died to date, during the whole pandemic, in Taiwan? Seven,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett said he has shared his findings with Sen. Bob Hall and Sen. Ted Cruz.
“We have sent that unpublished paper to Senator Cruz’s office already. So, he is responsible for the information he has now, and now everybody knows he has it,” Bartlett said.
We have four sources for this, Dr. Bindu Akkanti, associate professor of critical care medicine at McGovern Medical School at UT Health and attending physician at Memorial Hermann, the CDC, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s office and Texas Senator Bob Hall’s office.
Bartlett said he has been treating patients with COVID-19 since March. He claims inhaled steroids are a cure.
First, let’s address Bartlett’s claim that inhaled steroids are the cure for COVID-19.
“I wish it was as simple as that. If it was truly a silver bullet, and if it was truly a simple right, we would be using medications,” Akkanti said.
The CDC said there is no known cure for COVID-19. So, we can VERIFY that claim is false.
As for the countries Bartlett mentions have low death rates, we checked with the CDC and can VERIFY that information is true, however, Akkanti said there is no scientific evidence that inhaled steroid treatments are the reason.
“There are very small studies from each individual country that are coming through. But I think when we look at it on a large scale, there is no current signal that inhaled article steroids are preventing it or curing it,” Akkanti said.
As for the claim that Bartlett has discussed his “silver bullet cure” with federal and state lawmakers, Cruz’s office told the VERIFY team, “Dr. Bartlett spoke with staff to share his experiences and research.”
We can also Verify that Hall has received the document and has published it on his social media pages.
We had an interview scheduled with Barlett on Monday afternoon, but his spokesperson sent us a text message on Sunday saying he would have to reschedule because of his “busy COVID schedule.”