Jennifer Bridges, a registered nurse in Houston, is convinced that it is wrong for an employer to vaccinate a hospital worker like her with COVID-19 or say goodbye to work. I am. But so far, it’s a loss of legal debate.
A federal judge with a bitter defeatIf employees of the Houston Methodist Hospital system don’t like it, they can go to work elsewhere.
“Methodists are trying to do the business of saving lives without giving the COVID-19 virus. This is the choice to keep staff, patients, and their families safer. Bridge COVID-19 You are free to choose to accept or reject the vaccine. If she refuses, she will simply have to work somewhere else. ” US District Judge Lynn Hughes has dismissed a proceeding filed by 117 Houston Methodist workers, including Bridges, on vaccine requirements.
Saturday’s ruling in a closely monitored lawsuit over how far medical institutions can go to protect patients and others from the coronavirus is considered the first of its kind in the United States.Other hospitals and medical institutions..
Bridges said she would file a proceeding with the US Supreme Court if she and others needed it. “This is just the beginning. We will fight for quite some time.”
And other hospital systems across the country, including Washington DC, Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and more recently New York, have been backlashed, following Houston Methodists.
Legal experts say that such vaccine requirements will probably continue to be upheld in court, especially in public health crises, as long as the employer provides a reasonable exemption, including medical conditions and religious objections. I am.
“Easy to understand” comparison
Houston Methodist employees likened their situation to a medical experiment conducted on unwilling victims in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The judge called the comparison “blameable” and said the allegations made in the proceedings that the vaccine was experimental and dangerous were false.
“These people have not been imprisoned. They have not been detained. They are only required to be vaccinated to protect the most vulnerable people in hospital and other medical settings. “The University of Houston Law Center.
Bridges is one of 178 Houston Methodist workers who were suspended unpaid on June 8 and will be dismissed if they do not agree to be vaccinated by June 22.
Philadelphia’s largest private employers, the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the New York Elderly Hospital System, have similarly shown that fully unvaccinated employees will lose their jobs.
The Houston Methodist’s decision in April became the first major US health care system to require workers to be vaccinated with COVID-19. Many hospitals across the country, including Houston Methodists, are already in need of other types of vaccines, including influenza.
Mark Boom, President and CEO of Houston Methodist, said nearly 25,000 of the system’s more than 26,000 workers have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“You did the right thing. You protected our patients, colleagues, family, and our community. Science is needed if the vaccine is not only safe, but also against COVID-19. I’m proving that, “Boom said. Statement to employees.
However, Bridges, 39, and another nurse, Kara Shepherd, 38, who is participating in the proceedings, say she is not confident in the safety of the vaccine. They say they have seen patients and colleagues react severely and have insufficient knowledge of their long-term effects.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and highly effective, although a small number of health problems have been reported.
Bridges, who worked for six and a half years in the medical surgery inpatient ward of the Houston Methodist Hospital on the outskirts of Baytown, and Shepherd, who worked for the labor delivery unit at the Houston Methodist Hospital for seven and a half years, are not anti-vacuants, not conspirators, but political statements. Is not issued.
“For me, this is ultimately free,” Shepherd said.
Their lawyer, Jared Woodfill, said the hospital system does not allow workers to make their own medical decisions.
Indiana University Health, Indiana’s largest hospital system, requires all employees to be fully vaccinated by September 1. So far, over 60% of the 34,000 employees have been vaccinated.
On Saturday, some Indianapolis employees protested the requirement.
Kasey Ladig, an intensive care nurse and outpatient coordinator for the IU Health Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, said she quit her beloved job the day the policy was announced.
“I want to hear more than’we trust science’,” said Radig. “It was a huge red flag. I was worried about getting it.”
Hospital employees and others claim that such a requirement is illegal because the COVID-19 vaccine is dispensed under an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and has not been finalized by the FDA. doing. However, Koch said emergency use does not mean that people are being tested, adding that FDA approval is expected.
Alison K. Hoffman, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said an employee of Houston Methodist claimed to be used as a human Guinea pig or that vaccine policy violated the Nuremberg Code. “Idiot” as a result of the Nazi atrocities.
To avoid such battles, many employers offer vaccination incentives.
Instead of needing a vaccine, Jackson, Wyoming’s small healthcare system offered a $ 600 bonus to vaccinated employees by the end of May. This has increased vaccinations from 73% to 82% of St. John’s Health’s 840 employees, spokeswoman Karen Connelly said.
Bridges and Shepherd said the expected unemployment meant financial concerns, but no regrets.
“We are all proud of our decision because we are in our position and did not go against our will just for salary,” Bridges said. It was.
Workers oppose hospitals that need the COVID-19 vaccine
Source link Workers oppose hospitals that need the COVID-19 vaccine