One Texas hospital is being sued by 117 employees for forcing them to wear masks while another is relaxing their mask requirements.
Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, Texas, is relaxing several of its mask requirements, according to a June 1 report from NewsWest9.
It will not be required for hospital visitors to wear masks, though the hospital said mask wearing is still encouraged and required in certain situations.
Christin Timmons, DNP, chief nursing officer at Medical Center Hospital, told NewsWest9, “We have removed masks. We are highly encouraging masks to be worn, but we are not going to catch someone in our hallways and ask them to leave because they’re not wearing a mask.”
The hospital will require visitors to wear a mask when they’re in a room with a patient. Staff will be required to wear masks when they enter a room and in certain situations where they’re in close contact with patients, Dr. Timmons told the news station. However, not all hospital staff will be required to wear masks all of the time.
Medical Center Hospital is still not allowing children to visit patients, according to the report.
Meanwhile over 100 employees is suing Houston Methodist over its COVID-19 vaccination mandate for workers.
Houston Methodist, which comprises an academic medical center and six community hospitals, rolled out its mandatory vaccination policy March 31, setting an April 15 deadline for managers to receive at least one dose or get an exemption. By June 7, all about 26,000 employees are required to be vaccinated. However, employees can receive medical or religious exemptions or a deferral if they are pregnant.
Now, 117 Houston Methodist employees have filed a lawsuit, claiming that the mandate is illegal.
The lawsuit, filed May 28 in Montgomery County District Court in Texas, alleges the hospital is “illegally requiring its employees to be injected with an experimental vaccine as a condition of employment,” according to ABC News. It specifically cites that the COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for emergency use by the FDA but have not been fully approved.
The employees allege that Houston Methodist is violating Texas public policy and the Nuremberg Code, a medical ethics code for human experimentation drafted in 1947 because of the Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II, according to the report.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Jared Woodfill, said the health system’s mandate is meant “to promote its business and increase profits at the expense of other healthcare providers and their employees’ health. Defendants advertise to the public that they ‘require all employees and employed physicians to get a COVID-19 vaccine.’ More clearly, defendants’ employees are being forced to serve as human ‘guinea pigs’ to increase defendants’ profits.”
Houston Methodist said earlier this year that employees who do not comply with the vaccination mandate initially will have a discussion with their supervisor, then could face suspension followed by termination. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the health system from terminating unvaccinated workers.