By Zachary Stieber
A doctor in Texas is suing the health care institution that suspended her for allegedly purveying “dangerous misinformation.”
Dr. Mary Bowden, who now runs her own clinic, is seeking $25 million from Houston Methodist for alleged defamation.
Bowden became concerned that the COVID-19 vaccines were not preventing contraction of the virus that causes COVID-19, and spoke out against vaccine mandates and, later, the vaccines themselves, according to the 19-page lawsuit, which was slated to be filed in Harris County District Court.
After Bowden began sharing her opinions on social media, Houston Methodist and its CEO, Dr. Marc Boom, “retaliated” against her “in an unprecedented manner,” the filing states.
“Without notice, they published false and defamatory statements to the press and on social media, affording no due process, acting contrary to and with reckless disregard for both the letter and spirit of Methodist’s bylaw,” it says.
On Nov. 12, 2021, Houston Methodist took to Twitter and released a five-part statement, saying Bowden, who had recently joined the hospital’s staff, “is using her social media accounts to express her personal and political opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine and treatments.”
“These opinions, which are harmful to the community, do not reflect reliable medical evidence or the values of Houston Methodist, where we have treated more than 25,000 COVID-19 inpatients, and where all our employees and physicians are vaccinated to protect our patients,” the hospital said.
“Dr. Bowden, who has never admitted a patient at Houston Methodist Hospital, is spreading dangerous misinformation which is not based in science,” it added.
Boom, meanwhile, told KHOU-TV that he and other hospital officials decided to suspend Bowden for “her inappropriate behavior, including spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.”
“As a physician, I am personally offended by her behavior and by her misleading comments about COVID-19 and our hospital system,” he said.
The statements triggered numerous articles, from both local and outside media outlets.
‘False and Defamatory’
Bowden, who later resigned from Houston Methodist, says the statements were “materially false and defamatory.”
Bowden’s statements, including the promotion of ivermectin, were based on first-hand experience treating COVID-19, studies, and the published opinions of other medical professionals, including Dr. Peter McCullough. According to the suit, none of the patients who have received early treatment under her care have died, and many have been kept out of hospitals.
Because of the statements, Bowden lost patients and she and her business, BreatheMD, received negative reviews, the filing says.
Houston Methodist was served with a written notice demanding a retraction and/or correction but the notice was ignored.
Bowden is seeking $25 million in damages as well as other damages to be determined by a jury.
Houston Methodist declined to comment.
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