I know we have been in this pandemic for almost a year and a half now but the concept that a vaccine can be forced still seems so strange to me. However, that is exactly how a Houston, Texas Judge ruled. That ruling ended the employment of more than 150 nurses who either quit or were ultimately fired.
So this began a month ago where 178 nurses who refused to take the vaccine were placed on suspension. Each nurse cited their personal safety and the long-term risk factors of receiving the vaccine but according to the judge, none of that matters. Following that ruling, a little over two dozen nurses took the vaccine but the rest were let go or forced to quit.
“More than 150 employees at a Houston hospital system who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine have been fired or resigned after a judge dismissed an employee lawsuit over the vaccine requirement.
A representative of Houston Methodist hospital system told CBS News 153 employees either resigned in the two-week suspension period or were terminated on Tuesday.
The case over how far health care institutions can go to protect patients and others against the coronavirus has been closely watched. It’s believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S. But it won’t be the end of the debate.
Earlier this month, a federal judge threw out the lawsuit filed by 117 employees over the requirement. The hospital system’s decision in April to require the vaccine for workers made it the first major U.S. health care system to do so.”
Is it legal?
Under Texas law, medical staff is protected from being forced to do anything illegal— But that’s it. The judge noted that being forced to get vaccinated or lose their jobs was, in fact, not a crime.
“This is not coercion,” U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote on June 12. “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.”
Texas Tribune reports that the Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom applauded the ruling in a statement, saying that “employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do.”
Boom noted that 27 of the 178 suspended workers have received one dose of vaccine and that he is hopeful they will get the second dose. That leaves 153 nurses now unemployed and ripped from the job they dedicated their lives to.
As for Boom’s claim that ‘patients’ are ‘always the center’ focus, I have to disagree. Where he thinks the loss of 153 nurses is a drop in the bucket, I doubt the hospitals would agree. Especially when fatigue from the overworked staff starts to kick in. Who ultimately pays when hospitals are short of staff? The patients…