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A Texas federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by hospital employees who refused the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s why

In the lawsuit, a small group of Houston Methodist Hospital employees alleged their employer broke the Nuremberg Code. A judge disagreed

SHARE A Texas federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by hospital employees who refused the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s why
Jennifer Bridges leads people marching past protest Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital in Baytown, Texas.

Jennifer Bridges, left, leads people marching past Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital to protest against the hospital system’s rule of firing any employee who is not immunized by Monday, June 7, 2021, in Baytown, Texas.

Yi-Chin Lee, Houston Chronicle via Associated Press

A federal judge in Texas has tossed out a lawsuit filed by hospital employees in Houston who alleged it was wrong for their employer to require the coronavirus vaccine, and even went as far as saying it was wrong to accuse Houston Medical Hospital of breaking medical ethics developed after World War II.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes dismissed the suit by Houston Methodist Hospital nurse Jennifer Bridges, and 116 other hospital employees, saying in his decision Saturday that Bridges was wrong to compare the coronavirus vaccine to a clinical trial or to Nazis who abused concentration camp prisoners, Houston KHOU 11 reported.

  • “This is not coercion. 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. Bridges can freely choose to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else,” Hughes wrote in his order dismissing the lawsuit,” according to KHOU 11.
  • “Texas law only protects employees from being terminated for refusing to commit an act carrying criminal penalties to the worker,” the judge said.

Houston Methodist is not acting like Nazis

In the lawsuit, Bridges and her colleagues alleged that Houston Methodist had broken the Nuremberg Code, or medical research ethics developed after World War II when Nazis experimented on concentration camp prisoners, The Washington Post reported.

  • “The Nuremberg Code does not apply because Methodist is a private employer, not a government. Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible. Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on victims that caused pain, mutilation, permanent disability, and in many cases, death,” the judge wrote, reported KHOU 11.
  • The lawsuit also “falsely characterizes the coronavirus vaccines as an ‘experimental COVID-19 mRNA gene modification injection,’” the Post reported.

The hospital’s vaccine policy was clear

Houston Methodist — a large medical system of nearly 25,000 employees — told hospital staff that the coronavirus vaccine wasn’t optional for employment and offered a $500 bonus to vaccinated staff, CBS News reported.

  • Last week, Houston Methodist suspended 178 of its employees for not following its vaccination policy, CBS News reported.

Unvaccinated hospital employees respond, case is ‘far from over’

Attorney Jared Woodfill, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the small group of Houston Methodist employees, said ahead of the federal district court’s decision that “this is the first battle in a long fight,” according to KHOU-11.

  • “There are going to be many battles fought. Not just in this courtroom, but in courtrooms all across the state. There are battles that are going to be fought in the higher courts, the 5th Circuit, the Texas Supreme Court, even the United States Supreme Court,” Woodfill added.
  • “We’re OK with this decision. We are appealing. This will be taken all the way to the Supreme Court. This is far from over. This is literally only the beginning,” Bridges told KHOU-11.