The Houston-based doctor behind a viral video on the controversial hydroxychloroquine drug — which was then shared by President Donald Trump — was sued in January for medical malpractice in which a woman died after being in her care, according to Louisiana court records.
The lawsuit takes aim at Stella Grace Immanuel, a licensed medical practitioner and preacher whose contentious promotion of the anti-viral drug for COVID-19 treatment has received national notoriety. She holds licenses in Texas and Louisiana, where she and another doctor treated a woman in 2019 after she complained of a broken needle in her arm. The woman, identified in the suit as Leslie Norvell, explained to them at the Sabine Medical Center in Many that she had been doing an illegal drug and that a piece of the needle broke off in her arm.
Immanuel and the second doctor prescribed her an unspecified medication but did not order a closer look at her arm through an X-ray or other medical tests, the suit states. Norvell went home and, because of the pain, sought help hours later from a hospital in Shreveport, where a surgeon removed the needle. Six days later, Norvell died.
The suit alleges that Immanuel ignored Norvell’s complaints about a “bacterially infected needle” and failed to treat her. A lawyer representing Norvell’s family did not return a request for comment.
Immanuel could also not be reached for comment in response to her video, which Trump and one of his sons touted on social media this week. A woman who answered the phone at the Rehoboth Medical Center, where Immanuel works in Houston, said she was out of town and she did not know when she would return.
Immanuel was licensed in Louisiana in 1998 after completing residency at a Bronx, New York, hospital. She graduated in 1990 from the University of Calabar in Nigeria.
She has no documented complaints in Louisiana or Texas, where state records show she obtained a license in November 2019 — about 11 months after Norvell’s death.
Immanuel was licensed in Texas for pediatrics and emergency medicine. The civil suit in Louisiana has not been resolved. An attempt by the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Department to serve Immanuel with notice of the lawsuit in April failed because she no longer worked at the Sabine Medical Center. By then, she was associated with the Rehoboth Medical Center.
Licenses in both states are associated with the Rehoboth Medical Center, a small facility in a strip mall along Highway 6 near Mission Bend. In the pro-hydroxycholorquine drug video, Immanuel is wearing a lab coat for the facility.
“I’m kind of used to these medications,” Immanuel said in the video posted to social media. “When they started saying it was dangerous, I was like what? Because we give it to babies, pregnant women, elderly people. Everybody takes it. Hydroxycholoriqune works.”
Immanuel said she has treated over 350 patients with the drug, which has not been proven as an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus, and not one person has died. COVID-19 does not yet have a cure or vaccine.
“If they put everybody on hydroxychloroquine right now, for those with early disease and those that want to get prevention,” said Immanuel. “I’m telling you, it would stop covid in its tracks in 30 days.”
In another video, Immanuel, who runs and preaches for Fire Power Ministry, said in another video that religion plays a role in her medical practice.
“I am also a praying doctor and I pray for my patients,” she said, while wearing a PPE suit and mask.
Immanuel has repeatedly shared the video throughout social media, even after it was deleted. In a since-deleted Twitter post, she said, “Big Tech is censoring Experts and supressing the CURE. I will not be silenced.”
“Hello Facebook put back my profile page and videos up or your computers with start crashing till you do. You are not bigger that God,” Immanuel also posted Monday after the video’s removal. “I promise you. If my page is not back up face book will be down in Jesus name.”
On Tuesday, she thanked CNN and MSNBC for their news reports on her ministry, which she called commercials.
“Woah CNN, MSNBC etc are doing free commercials on our deliverance ministry. Fire Power is main stream,” Immanuel tweeted on Tuesday. “Thank you CNN and let me know when y’all need some of them demons cast out of you. I will gladly oblige. You will feel a lot better. Keep up the good work.”