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QAnon backer at center of ivermectin treatment flap dies at Northwest Side hospital

Fellow QAnon adherents had targeted Amita Resurrection Medical Center with a flood of phone calls and a small in-person protest after doctors refused to give Veronica Wolski ivermectin, which isn’t approved to treat COVID-19.

Veronica Wolski waves to drivers as she protests with banners on a Kennedy expressway pedestrian bridge in 2017.
Veronica Wolski waves to drivers as she protests with banners on a Kennedy expressway pedestrian bridge in 2017.
Sun-Times Media

A QAnon backer from Chicago died early Monday following a public battle with COVID-19 that recently prompted a coordinated harassment campaign against a Northwest Side hospital that declined to treat her with an unapproved and potentially dangerous drug.

Veronica Wolski, 64, of Jefferson Park, died at 12:44 a.m. at Amita Resurrection Medical Center, the Cook County medical examiner’s office reported. She died from pneumonia due to COVID-19 with hypothyroidism as a contributing factor, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Wolski had been hospitalized for weeks, according to posts on the messaging app Telegram, where her supporters had mobilized. Fellow QAnon adherents ultimately began targeting the hospital last week with a small protest and a flood of phone calls after doctors refused to give her ivermectin, a drug that’s been touted by the vaccine-averse and those on the far-right as a groundbreaking treatment for COVID.

While approved for treating parasites in both humans and animals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned that ivermectin hasn’t been proved effective against coronavirus, or approved to treat it. In recent months, as fringe figures have lauded ivermectin, poison control centers across the country have reported a massive surge in cases related to the drug. Some people have even begun ingesting an ivermectin paste formulated for horses, according to media reports.

A flyer for a protest last Monday at Resurrection explained Wolski had been hospitalized there for two weeks with “Covid pneumonia.” The flyer, circulated on Telegram, claimed a doctor who initially agreed to give her ivermectin later backtracked because the hospital sided with public health experts who “do not advise its use in COVID-19 cases.”

A hospital spokeswoman declined to comment Monday.

Wolski was perhaps most well known for hanging banners with pointed messages on the fence of a pedestrian bridge over the Kennedy Expressway on the Northwest Side.

When Wolski was interviewed by the Sun-Times in 2018 — as she faced a crackdown from the Illinois State Police — her activism centered on her support for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders after he lost the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

A social media post demanding that a hospital treat Veronica Wolski with ivermectin, a drug that has not been shown effective against, or approved for, COVID-19. | Screenshot
A social media post demanding that a hospital treat Veronica Wolski with ivermectin, a drug that has not been shown effective against, or approved for, COVID-19.
Screenshot

Known commonly as “the bridge lady” or by her online handle “The People’s Bridge,” Wolski later began supporting former President Donald Trump and displaying signs that pushed the QAnon conspiracy theory and rejected pandemic restrictions and vaccines.

“Ax the vax,” read one sign she posed with on the bridge.

In an interview posted to Vimeo in 2019, Wolski explained how she gravitated toward flying QAnon banners earlier that year.

“There’s something about the Q. There has to be a critical mass reached for some people to know what it means in order for the honks to come in. In order for me to not just look like a lunatic on the bridge,” she said of the conspiracy theory, which holds that Trump is battling a cabal of Democratic pedophiles.

However, Wolski also acknowledged her propaganda work was alienating: “In the face of losing friends along the way, of being disassociated from family members, I don’t back down ever.”

Veronica Wolski gestures to drivers as she protests with banners on a Kennedy expressway pedestrian bridge on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Chicago. Wolski’s banners later touted the QAnon conspiracy theory and opposed the COVID-19 vaccine. Wolski died Monday.
Veronica Wolski with her banners on a pedestrian bridge over the Kennedy expressway in December 2017.
Sun-Times file

Wolski’s family and an associate couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

But on Monday, some of the same high-profile QAnon adherents who supported Wolski and trumpeted the campaign against Resurrection offered their condolences.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser who Wolski credited as a hero, called her “a patriot of the highest order, a blossom of truth in the field of fight that we find ourselves engaged in.”

“She stood as a giant among Patriots who believe in freedom, believed in America and the American dream and was always willing to give of herself before others,” Flynn said to his nearly 288,000 Telegram subscribers.

L. Lin Wood, an embattled attorney who helped file lawsuits supporting Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, was among those who sought to have Wolski discharged this weekend.

In a video posted to Telegram, Wood calls the hospital and demands her release before issuing a stark warning: “If you do not release her, you’re going to be guilty of murder.” In another video, a Chicago police officer prevents a woman from entering the hospital to perform a wellness check on Wolski.

On Monday, Wood eulogized Wolski and included a cryptic message that apparently sought to mobilize his nearly 815,000 followers on the platform again.

“We pray for ALL that are captives to medical tyranny in our country and around the world. It must end. As my brother in Christ, Jarrin Jackson, says, ‘Now go to war,’” Wood said on Telegram, referring to a veteran and failed congressional candidate from Oklahoma who is sympathetic to QAnon beliefs.

“Non-violent civil disobedience. Let your voices be heard, Patriots,” Wood’s message continued. “For Veronica. For your fellow Americans. For the world. For humanity.”

In remembrance of Veronica Wolski, supporters put flowers and a flag on a fence Monday afternoon on the pedestrian bridge over the outbound Kennedy Expressway on the Northwest Side.
In remembrance of Veronica Wolski, supporters put flowers and a flag on a fence Monday afternoon on the pedestrian bridge over the outbound Kennedy Expressway on the Northwest Side.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times
Veronica Wolski was a familiar sight to many drivers on the Kennedy Expressway, where she often hung protest banners and waved to drivers from a pedestrian bridge near the Gladstone Park Metra station.
Veronica Wolski was a familiar sight to many drivers on the Kennedy Expressway, where she often hung protest banners and waved to drivers from a pedestrian bridge near the Gladstone Park Metra station.
Sun-Times Media