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Rantz: Hydroxychloroquine coronavirus treatment saved my friend’s life

An arrangement of hydroxychloroquine pills. (AP Photo/John Locher)

After John McConnell came down with coronavirus, while also having pneumonia, he said his emotional goodbyes to his wife and kids, then updated his will. But before he was placed on a ventilator, his doctor tried anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.

John says it saved his life.

Hydroxychloroquine to the rescue

McConnell is an otherwise healthy 65-year-old man and former athlete. He lives a healthy lifestyle with his wife in Florida, but travels a lot for business (he happens to be one of my radio agents). Perhaps it was on the road that he caught the coronavirus.

“It was horrible,” McConnell told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “I was completely fatigued. I had no energy. I couldn’t move. And I was that way for over a week.”

It got so bad, McConnell went to the emergency room near his home in Vero Beach.

“I went into the hospital on a Wednesday night, but I was failing. I had double pneumonia, and I was very sick on Thursday morning,” McConnell recalls. “A doctor that I knew from New York collaborated with my doctor here in Florida, and convinced him that based on my medical records and stats and markers, that if they did not put me on the Plaquenil, I would die.”

McConnell was given Plaquenil, the brand name for hydroxychloroquine, on Thursday night. Friday morning? He was dealing with a 103.5 fever. The hydroxychloroquine was not working.

“They prepared me for a vent [ventilator],” McConnell recalls. “I spoke to my wife. We said what we say in that moment when you don’t know what’s next. And sure enough, two hours-three hours later, I called the nurse’s station. I said, ‘I’m not sure what’s going on with me, but I’m feeling better’.”

Hydroxychloroquine controversy

McConnell said there “was no hesitation” to take hydroxychloroquine on his part. Without it, he was convinced he was going to die. But nationally, the discussion on the drug has been controversial.

President Donald Trump has frequently touted the promise of the drug, saying he’s heard great anecdotal evidence that it can help in some dire cases of the coronavirus. He rightly asks, “what do you have to lose?” if doctors think death is imminent due to the virus.

But Democrats and the media has quickly jumped on Trump for hoping the drug works. Senator Kamala Harris called Trump a “drug pusher” on ABC News. Outlets called promoting the promise of the drug as irresponsible, and claimed it would do more harm than good.

Some outlets, like The Seattle Times, pretended a man died from taking hydroxychloroquine, influenced to take it by the president. Only, the man didn’t take hydroxychloroquine — he consumed fish cleaner. On Twitter, the Times touted the story even after it had been completely debunked.

It’s as if the media is rooting for it to be a failure so they can rub it in Trump’s face. They don’t attack Governor Andrew Cuomo for his hopeful language on the drug. They only attack Trump.


Despite the media criticism, Trump maintains, as it goes through clinical trials, that he hopes it provides to be a safe way to treat coronavirus patients.

McConnell says he’s “outraged” by the media dunking on Trump for his support of a potentially life-saving drug.

“Look, my politics are not as conservative as yours are, Jason, and I will tell you that I vote… consistently on both sides of the aisle,” McConnell said. “But I am outraged that this has been politicized. You know, the president put out an idea that this is the only thing we have that we know is working in all these different situations. Let’s do what we can. I’m 100% supportive of that. You have to be. You have nothing to lose.”

On the mend

McConnell is now recovered and is getting back to normal, though he’s still a bit fatigued and dealing with the after-effects of pneumonia. But he’s up for that challenge knowing that, had it not been for hydroxychloroquine, he wouldn’t be alive at all.

Is hydroxychloroquine the miracle drug to tackle coronavirus? I have no clue. Neither do doctors.

But it’s helping in a lot of cases and we should all pray that it does come out of clinical trials with positive results. Why would anyone hope that it doesn’t? Because, unfortunately, too many are singularly focused on hurting Trump. He supports the drug so the media must denounce it. How disturbing.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter.

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