In his ruling, the judge harshly criticized the plaintiffs’ comparison of required vaccinations with forced medical experimentation in Nazi concentration camps.
A federal judge has dismissed an employee-led lawsuit alleging that Houston Methodist Hospital illegally required all its workers to be vaccinated against novel coronavirus.
According to National Public Radio, the lawsuit was dismissed on Saturday by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes. In his five-page ruling, Hughes found that Houston Methodist’s vaccination policy did not violate any federal laws. He also contested the employees’ charge that the hospital had coerced workers into getting inoculated.
“This is no coercion,” Hughes wrote. “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 hospital, notes NPR, announced in April that it would require all of its staff to be vaccinated against coronavirus by the beginning of June.
In a statement, Houston Methodist observed that the overwhelming majority of its 6,000 physicians, staff, and workers agreed to the policy. However, the hospital did suspend 200 employees who refused to get vaccinated.
In their initial lawsuit, the employees suggested that the available coronavirus vaccinations are experimental and potentially dangerous—and that the hospital was breaking federal law by requiring workers to do something that could be injurious to their health.
However, Hughes said that the litigants’ claims of danger were irrelevant and false.
Furthermore, Hughes observed that Texas law does not cover vaccination requirements.
“Texas law only protects employees from being terminated for refusing to commit an act carrying criminal penalties to the worker,” Hughes said, adding that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit did not specify which illegal acts they had been coerced into performing. “Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination is not an illegal act, and it carries no criminal penalties.”
Hughes, says NPR, also condemned the plaintiffs for comparing vaccination mandates with the Nazis’ forced medical experimentation on Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
“Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible,” Hughes asserted. “Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on victims that caused pain, mutilation, permanent disability, and in many cases, death.”
Jared Woodfill, an attorney for the workers, said his clients are committed to appealing Hughes’ decision.
“What is shocking is that many of my clients were on the front line treating COVID-positive patients at Texas Methodist Hospital during the height of the pandemic,” he said. “As a result, many of them contracted COVID-19. As a thank you for their service and sacrifice, Methodist Hospital awards them a pink slip and sentences them to bankruptcy.”
The hospital, however, has taken Hughes’ ruling as a victory.
“We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service, and innovation,” said Houston Methodist CEO Dr. Marc Boom.