Houston Methodist Hospital's Rejected Doctor and Nurse Unite Against Vaccine Mandates for Heath Care Workers- EXCLUSIVE
Dr. Mary Talley Bowden hires Nurse Jennifer Bridges as court rules against Biden's vax mandate for health care workers
Houston Methodist Hospital tried to eliminate all dissent on COVID vaccines by firing healthcare workers who refused to go along with the first mandate of its kind in the country. But the two most publicly vocal former Methodist medical professionals have united to stand up to the hospital and support patient choice.
This move comes on the same day that a federal court stopped Pres. Biden’s vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states, though not Texas.
Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, MD will announce Tuesday that she has hired registered nurse Jennifer Bridges to work in her COVID-19 practice. Bridges is one of the most well-known leaders in the nation of the anti-vaccine mandates movement.
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I spoke to Bridges on the phone Monday about her new job. “I've been telling some of my close friends and everybody's excited. They're like, y'all are gonna be like the Dream Team combination together,” she said.
Bridges has been working as a private nurse since Methodist Hospital fired her and at least 150 other healthcare workers for not getting vaccinated. Methodist was the first U.S. hospital to institute a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for its employees and contractors.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp stopped Pres. Biden’s rules that mandates vaccination for healthcare workers in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. You can read the ruling in the document I’ve linked below.
The key excerpt is the judge’s conclusion here:
The Court finds that in balancing the equities, the scale falls clearly in favor of healthcare facilities operating with some unvaccinated employees, staff, trainees, students, volunteers, and contractors, rather than the swift, irremediable impact of requiring healthcare facilities to choose between two undesirable choices—providing substandard care or providing no healthcare at all.
Since April, Bridges has filed multiple lawsuits and become a national advocate for employees who fight vaccine mandates. She has been a registered nurse for eight years, most of it at Methodist.
“She fiercely stood up for herself, probably the first one in the country,” Bowden said of Bridges. “She’s clearly passionate about patient care. I want someone like that on my team.”
To get caught up on Dr. Bowden, read my exclusive report here on her decision three weeks ago to only take unvaccinated new patients to ensure they get care.
Methodist revoked Dr. Bowden’s privileges days later. She resigned in protest. Click below to read what the hospital did to her professional reputation.
The enemy of your enemy
Bridges has watched Bowden defend herself in the past weeks against vitriolic attacks by Methodist CEO Mark Bloom.
“If you go against anything they're trying to do, they want to discredit you and shut you up because they are making a fortune,” said Bridges of the hospital leadership. “They are so power and money hungry.”
The women met for the first time a week ago at a fundraiser. Afterward, Bridges texted Bowden about an open nursing position at her private practice.
“I said, ‘I'd love to come work for you. We can collaborate together about everything with Methodist and just kind of tag team and go after them,’” she recalled. Bridges starts Wednesday.
“Watch out. Here we come, Methodist,” said Dr. Bowden.
“I want Methodist to be held accountable. I want to bring them down basically,” said Bridges. “I want everyone to know the truth. They fired me for something that doesn't work. For no damn reason, they made me lose my job”
Bridges believes the hospital’s policies are only about money, not patient care.
“It’s just a sheer evil, power-hungry trip,” said Bridges. “I know for a fact that prior to all the COVID money, Methodist was in a deficit and they were not financially doing well. And they just made over $400 million just off the COVID relief.”
A hospital spokesman did not respond to a request.
Dr. Bowden opposes vaccine mandates. “You can’t force somebody to get an injection against free will. It’s awful,” she said. “Methodist opposes what I am doing -- allowing patient choice and patient autonomy over their own health.”
The doctor said she never anticipated that her new policy to treat unvaccinated patients would lead to a national media firestorm and losing privileges at Methodist. But she feels an obligation to help others in the medical field who face the same blowback, like nurse Bridges.
However, Bowden did not hire Bridges just for the principle.
“I need her. I need somebody who can do IVs and travel to people’s homes who are too sick to come to the office,” said the doctor. Bowden has treated 2,000 patients with COVID and kept them all out of the hospital.
“I'll definitely be a nurse at her practice,” said Bridges. “I’ll be doing lab draws, IV infusions and focus on the unvaccinated --whatever they need -- immune boosters monoclonal antibodies.”
Bridges told me she has “natural immunity“ because she got COVID from one of her patients at Methodist.
“I lost my job and got fired because I wouldn't take something that I didn't need, that doesn't work and is dangerous,” said Bridges. “The majority of people under 60 years old literally have a 99.999, almost 100% chance of survival. The recovery rate is amazing. They just don't want to talk about it. So this is not even something that should be mandated.”
Even though Bridges has a new job, she is still angry about what Methodist hospital did to her career after working there through the early months of COVID. She has lawsuits in Texas state courts and federal courts.
“Our goal is to get to the Supreme Court on both the state and federal levels and set the precedent for everyone else.”
While most of the other 150-plus Methodist employees fired for not getting vaccinated have been publicly silent, Bridges has made this issue into her personal mission.
“I hope we can spread more truth and awareness to the public. People just need proper and informed consent before they go take something,” said Bridges. “Nothing in the medical system is 100% safe.”
The black sheep in the medical field who opposed vaccine mandates are finding strength in numbers. The more doctors and nurses who are brave enough to say publicly what many of them say privately— the COVID vaccine is not medically necessary for all people — the more patients will regain trust in the public health system.
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Nurse Jennifer Bridges website for “Guardians of Medical Choice”
Dr. Mary Talley Bowden private practice “Breathe MD”
Texas Monthly on Bridges: She’s Leading the Fight Against Mandatory Vaccines in Texas. She Also Happens to Be a Nurse.
Reuters on Bridges: A few skeptical U.S. hospital workers choose dismissal over vaccine
Houston Chronicle on Bowden: Houston Methodist suspends River Oaks doctor for spreading COVID misinformation (If this link is behind their paywall, read it here.)
Houston Methodist twitter feed about Bowden:
Houston Methodist CEO Dr. Marc Boom statement to media about Dr. Bowden
Hospital Policy: Houston Methodist Requires COVID-19 Vaccine for Credentialed Doctors