A Houston hospital will become the first in the United States to fire workers for refusing Covid-19 vaccinations from June 7, unless a state judge intervenes.
Around 117 staff members prosecuted Houston Methodist Hospital on Friday in Texas State Court, claiming the facility’s vax-or-pink-slip warrant violates World War II codes of ethics designed to prevent medical experimentation on subjects reluctant humans. The so-called Nuremberg Code was developed in response to Nazi atrocities committed on victims of concentration camps.
About 99% of the 26,000 employees of the hospital, the cornerstone of the famous Texas Medical Center, are already in compliance with its vaccination mandate, according to an email sent by Marc Boom, general manager of the hospital, to all employees and doctors. The remaining staff were reminded that they had until June 7 to get the hit or face the consequences.
Read more: Refusing the vaccine is legal but could still cost you your job
The lawsuit represents an escalation of Jennifer Bridges, an outspoken Houston nurse, who took her complaints to social media shortly after her employer’s vaccination policy was announced. His April 17 Facebook post drew 94 comments and encouragement to hire a lawyer. His name appears first among the plaintiffs in the complaint filed Friday in Montgomery County, about an hour north of downtown Houston.
Boom’s internal email makes no mention of the hospital’s policy to exempt employees who are pregnant, have underlying health conditions, or have strong religious beliefs from immunization mandates. “It’s legal for healthcare facilities to require vaccines, as we’ve done with the flu shot since 2009,” Boom said in his memo. “The Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to be very safe and very effective through rigorous testing and are not experimental,” he added.
Jared Woodfill, a lawyer for holdouts, disagrees. Covid vaccines authorized for emergency use are not fully approved by federal regulators, he said, and are not permitted to be mandatory under current US Centers for Disease Control rules.
“Methodist Hospital requires its employees to be ‘human’ guinea pigs as a condition of continued employment,” Woodfill said in court documents asking a state judge to temporarily block planned layoffs. “In fact, this is a medical experiment of genetic modification on human beings, carried out without informed consent. This is a serious and flagrant violation of the Nuremberg Code and of the public order of the state of Texas. “
Holders also accuse Methodists of wrongful dismissal and violation of Texas’ at will employment laws.
Even though the judge sides with workers refusing vaccines, the concept of forcing employees to get vaccinated or lose their jobs is already spreading as fast as the virus itself among other large hospitals.
“CEOs of other healthcare facilities are calling almost every day to ask how we’re doing,” Boom said in an April memo to employees. ” I hope other health systems and employers will quickly join the Houston Methodist in making the vaccine mandatory for staff. The sooner we can end this pandemic, the less lives we will continue to lose and the closer we can get to normal. “