Michael Hiltzik: Texas court says you can't force a hospital to give you ivermectin for COVID

Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Bowden was suspended earlier this month by Houston Methodist Hospital, which tweeted on Nov. 12 that she "is spreading dangerous misinformation which is not based in science." Bowden subsequently resigned from the hospital.

After a telehealth visit with Erin Jones, Bowden, an ear-nose-and-throat specialist, proposed treating Jason Jones with ivermectin and 15 other drugs, none of which has been scientifically validated as a treatment for COVID-19.

After Huguley refused her treatment request, Erin Jones sued the hospital, demanding that if its own doctors refused to use ivermectin, Bowden be granted hospital privileges to perform the treatment herself.

At a hearing, Bowden acknowledged that she had not examined Jason Jones or reviewed his medical records before writing her 16-drug prescription. She testified, as Sudderth observed, "that this did not matter or change her recommendation for ivermectin 'because this man is dying.'"

The trial judge instructed Bowden to apply for temporary privileges at Huguley, and ordered Huguley to grant them. The hospital appealed.


The appellate panel was plainly disturbed at the trial judge's willingness to impose his own will on the hospital's independent professional judgment, not merely about whether to administer a given treatment, but whether to allow an unvetted physician to practice in its wards.

"A hospital is not a mere hostelry providing room and board and a place for physicians to practice their craft, but owes independent duties of care to its patients," Sudderth wrote, quoting from an earlier Texas appellate decision.

Nor should judges allow emotion to trump the rule of law, she added.

"We can give the Joneses our sympathies and prayers," she wrote, "but not an injunction, because the law simply does not permit us to do so."

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