Rio Giardinieri, a 52-year-old man in Los Angeles contracted COVID-19. His local doctors did not want to see him, according to Fox News 11 so he drove down to South Florida to Joe DiMaggio Hospital.

“I was at the point where I was barely able to speak and breathing was very challenging. I really thought my end was there. I had been through nine days of solid pain and for me, the end was there. So I made some calls to say in my own way goodbye to my friends and family.” A close friend told him about the old anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, and suggested he take it.

According to reports from Fox News 11, Giardinieri reached out to an infectious disease doctor. “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. 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. He agreed and authorized the use of it and 30 minutes later the nurse gave it to me.”

As Fox News 11 author, Hailey Winslow, wrote, after an hour of an IV drip, ‘Giardinieri’s heart felt like it was beating out of his chest.’

“They had to come in and get me calmed down and take care of me. I had another episode about two hours later where I just got to the point where I couldn’t breathe and my heart was pounding again so they gave me some Benadryl through the system and something else. I’m not sure what it was. It allowed me to go to sleep and when I woke up at exactly 4:45 in the morning, I woke up like nothing ever happened.”

Giardinieri says his doctors now believe those episodes were not merely a reaction to the medicine, but the virus running its course through his body, according to Fox News 11.

“To me, there was no doubt in mind that I wouldn’t make it until morning,”

“So to me the drug saved my life.”

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On FOX 11’s “The Issue Is,” this week, Oncologist Dr. Paul Song says while using hydroxycloroquine to treat COVID-19 is still preliminary, it’s extremely compelling and hopeful with such an infectious virus.“A lot of people are walking around shedding viruses unknowingly and if you can’t eliminate this from the body in such a short period of time, then the potential to infect others is greatly diminished,” says Dr. Song.

“Not to mention the recovery period for patients,” Giardinieri says, for him, it was life-saving.

“I just want everyone to know there’s an option. You don’t have to just sit there and hydrate. There’s a medicine that’s working.”He had three doses of the medicine Saturday. Doctors now have to wait to make sure coronavirus is knocked out of his system so he doesn’t infect anyone else. He’s hoping to go home to his family in about five days.

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