A Texas federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Saturday brought by employees who challenged the hospital’s coronavirus vaccination requirement, according to court documents.
U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes said that the Houston Methodist Hospital’s vaccine mandate for its employees was allowed under state law, according to court documents. In his filing, Hughes rejected claims by Jennifer Bridges, a nurse and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Texas by over a hundred employees, that the vaccines were experimental and dangerous.
“The hospital’s employees are not participants in a human trial,” Hughes wrote in the filing. “Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the Covid-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer.”
The judge also wrote in his order that employment termination law only protects employees who refuse to commit criminal behavior. “Bridges can freely choose to accept or refuse a Covid-19 vaccine, however if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else,” he said in the order.
Hughes called “reprehensible” the lawsuit’s claim that a vaccination requirement was comparable to the Holocaust, according to court documents.
"We have a sacred obligation to keep our patients safe and that's what vaccines do," says Houston Methodist Pres. Dr. Marc Boom after the hospital suspended 178 workers for not being fully vaccinated by deadline, compared to 24,947 are fully vaccinated.https://t.co/086Gd15YBL
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 11, 2021
Jared Woodfill, the employee’s lawyer, stated on Saturday that the workers would appeal the ruling, according to the New York Times.
Bridges led a walkout on June 7 after the Houston Methodist Hospital warned nearly 200 workers that they will be fired after a two-week suspension if they don’t comply with the vaccine requirement.
Bridges said she is refusing to be vaccinated because she said there isn’t a full Food and Drug Administration approval, according to the New York Times. The FDA has continued to do inspections and observations on the vaccine to meet the agency’s standard for “safety,” according to their site.
“Our employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do,” Dr. Marc Boom, chief executive of Houston Methodist, said in a statement late Saturday, according to the New York Times.
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