Employees of a Houston hospital who refused to take the coronavirus vaccine, despite orders from their employer, were left out in the cold Saturday after a judge tossed out their lawsuit against the hospital.
In March, Houston Methodist Hospital said all of its employees had to be vaccinated by June 7 to continue working there.
Marc Boom, president and CEO, has said 99 percent of the hospital’s 26,000 workers complied.
However, 117 employees who refused to be vaccinated sued the hospital. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Judge Lynn N. Hughes threw out the suit saying that lead plaintiff and nurse Jennifer Bridges and her fellow workers had no case, according to NBC News.
The lawyer for the employees, who were all suspended from their jobs on Tuesday, said the fight is not over.
“This is the first battle in a long fight,” attorney Jared Woodfill said, according to KHOU-TV.
“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,” he said.
The lawsuit claimed that requiring vaccination was a violation of the rights of employees. The lawsuit likened the requirement to be vaccinated to forced participation in a clinical trial, and a violation of an ethics standard known as the Nuremberg Code, created after World War II to ban experimentation on individuals without their consent.
Judge Hughes did not agree.
Hughes wrote that Bridges “is refusing to accept inoculation that, in the hospital’s judgment, will make it safer for their workers and patients in Methodist’s care.”
Hughes said workers were not being coerced.
“This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving [patients’] lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer,” he wrote.
He further rejected the contention that the vaccine was not approved by noting that it was approved for emergency use.
He also rejected the lawsuit’s reference to Nazi Germany.
“Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible,” he wrote.
Bridges had said when she opposed taking the vaccine that “[p]eople trying to force you to put something into your body that you’re not comfortable with, in order to keep your job, is just insane,” to a KHOU-TV report from May 28.
“I’m not an anti-vax person. If you want to get it, by all means, get it. I don’t take that away from anybody. Just let everybody have a choice and the right to make their own decision,” Bridges said.