Dem Lawmaker Says Trump Saved Her Life by Recommending Hydroxychloroquine for Coronavirus

Michigan Democratic State Representative Karen Whitsett told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday that the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine stopped her coronavirus symptoms "within a couple hours."

Whitsett represents parts of Detroit, a city that has been labeled a coronavirus "hot spot." Recent data indicated 5,032 positive cases in Detroit with 196 deaths attributable to the virus reported in the city.

Used primarily to treat malaria, hydroxychloroquine has been praised by President Donald Trump as a potential therapeutic for the virus. Sunday, Trump suggested taking the drug to prevent contracting the virus.

"I'm not looking at it one way or the other," Trump said, "but we want to get out of this. If it does work, it would be a shame if we didn't do it early. But we have some very good signs."

While the FDA has not yet approved hydroxychloroquine for treatment of the coronavirus, Whitsett claims it worked for her.

"I really want to say that you have to give this an opportunity," Whitsett said Monday. "For me, it saved my life."

donald trump
President Donald Trump's referring to the drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible cure for coronavirus may have helped save Michigan Representative Karen Whitsett's life after she took the medication when she became symptomatic. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Whitsett did not receive hydroxychloroquine until the day of her coronavirus test. She was able to have her husband pick up the medication after her symptoms reached a critical phase.
Hospitals in her area were full.

"I honestly believed that once I got into something like that, I may not actually come out and that was my biggest fear," Whitsett said. "And I knew that this medication would possibly save me."

Whitsett credited Trump's mention of hydroxychloroquine during news briefings for giving her the idea of trying the drug.

"If President Trump had not talked about this, it would not be something that's accessible for anyone to get, not right now," Whitsett said.

Newsweek reached out to Whitsett for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Infectious diseases expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday on Fox News that more studies need to be done to establish the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine.

"We still need to do the definitive studies to determine whether any intervention, not just this one, is truly safe and effective," Fauci said. "But when you don't have that information, it's understandable why people might want to take something anyway even with the slightest hint of being effective."

However, the FDA issued an Emergency Use authorization for hydroxychloroquine on Friday, allowing it to be requested from the federal stockpile and used as coronavirus medication on some hospitalized patients.

In March, an Arizona couple afraid of contracting coronavirus took a form of chloroquine phosphate, believing it to be the same drug President Trump had called a "game-changer" in the fight against the illness. After they both ingested the chemical, which is used to clean aquariums, the man died in a Phoenix hospital while the woman was placed into a critical care unit.

"Don't believe anything the president says, and his people, because they don't know what they're talking about," the woman told NBC News. "And don't take anything. Be so careful. And call your doctor."