The nurses at Houston Methodist Hospital finally got their day in court over the weekend after filing a lawsuit that would’ve prevented the facility from firing employees who refuse to get their COVID-19 shots. However, the judge wasn’t having it. The court dismissed the suit for comparing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate to Nazi experiments. It’s a major setback for the nurses looking to keep their jobs and a clear sign that employers have the right to mandate that all their workers get vaccinated.
Dozens of unvaccinated healthcare workers said goodbye to Houston Methodist Hospital last week. The facility said that anyone who didn’t have their shots by early June would be terminated within two weeks.
Nurse Jennifer Bridges and 116 of her colleagues remained defiant and filed a lawsuit that asked the court to intervene as a last-ditch effort to keep their jobs. However, Judge Lynn N. Hughes of the Southern District of Texas rejected the lawsuit outright.
“The hospital’s employees are not participants in a human trial,” Judge 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.”
In the official complaint, the nurses claimed the hospital was asking them to serve as “guinea pigs” by requiring the vaccine for all employees, even though the COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective.
“Here, Defendants fail to inform its employees that they are taking part in a medical experiment and that their consent is required for this under the Nuremberg Code,” the complaint read. “This, as a matter of fact, is a gene modification medical experiment on human beings, performed without informed consent. It is a severe and blatant violation of the Nuremberg Code and the public policy of the state of Texas.”
The Nuremberg Code was created after WWII when it was discovered that the Nazis had conducted a range of morally defunct, cruel experiments on Jews, homosexuals, and other minorities. The code created a set of guidelines for conducting medical research, including that participants must consent beforehand and experiments should be conducted for the good of society.
Unfortunately, when it comes to vaccine requirements at Houston Methodist, the Nuremberg Code doesn’t apply. As Judge Hughes pointed out, the hospital is a private company, while the Nuremberg Code applies to nations.
Hughes dismissed the nurses’ claims that there’s something wrong with the vaccine.
“Bridges dedicates the bulk of her pleadings to arguing that the currently-available COVID-19 vaccines are experimental and dangerous,” the judge wrote. “This claim is false, and it is also irrelevant. She is refusing to accept inoculation that, in the hospital’s judgment, will make it safer for their workers and the patients in Methodist’s care.”
Hughes also dismissed the idea that asking someone to get vaccinated compares to the atrocities committed during WWII.
“Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible,” Hughes wrote. “Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on victims that caused pain, mutilation, permanent disability, and in many cases, death.”
Is It Over?
Jared Woodfill, the attorney representing the nurses, said they will appeal the court’s decision.
“This is the first battle in a long fight,” Woodfill added. “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. So, this is just one battle in a larger war. It’s the first round, if you will.”
Currently, Texas law “only protects employees from being terminated for refusing to commit an act carrying criminal penalties to the worker,” and Hughes noted that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine “is not an illegal act.”
Bridges and her colleagues may not be done fighting the vaccine mandate, but it looks like they’ll be out of a job in the meantime.
“We took the position that it shouldn’t be dismissed for a whole host of reasons, and we believe that forcing an individual to participate in a vaccine trial is illegal,” Woodfill added.