Medical board files complaint against physician who allegedly prescribed ivermectin without hospital privileges

The Texas Medical Board has filed a complaint against otolaryngologist Mary Talley Bowden, MD, alleging unprofessional conduct and violations of standard of care. 

Dr. Bowden made headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic related to her claims on social media about vaccinations and treatments and her ongoing legal battle with Houston Methodist Hospital.

The complaint, filed April 25, alleges Dr. Bowden violated the standard of care when she prescribed medication to a patient in the intensive care unit of Texas Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth, where she did not hold privileges. 

Dr. Bowden "did not have a prior physician-patient relationship with the patient and did not establish a medical relationship prior to prescribing medication to the patient," the complaint says. "She did not conduct an exam, nor could she have done so, as she did not have privileges at the hospital where the patient was admitted." 

The complaint also alleges Dr. Bowden sent a delegate to administer the prescription medication to the patient at the hospital, even though she did not have treating privileges at the hospital or an established physician-patient relationship with the patient.

Additionally, she "acted in an unprofessional manner and violated confidentiality protections for patients and hospital staff when she disseminated patient identifying protected health information, and publicly identified hospital staff treating the patient and involved in patient decision-making on her social media accounts," the complaint says.

The complaint notes that Dr. Bowden's privileges were suspended at another hospital, Houston Methodist Hospital, based on her "unprofessional conduct."

Dr. Bowden voluntarily resigned Nov. 15, 2021, after she was suspended days earlier for using her social media accounts to spread what Houston Methodist Hospital described as "harmful" misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The resignation occurred while she was under investigation at the hospital. 

In July 2022, Dr. Bowden filed a lawsuit accusing Houston Methodist Hospital as well as Houston Methodist President and CEO Marc Boom, MD, of defamation. A judge dismissed the defamation case in January.

Dr. Bowden took to Twitter following the ruling, writing, "Judge just dismissed my defamation case … We will appeal."

She asserts in her response that Houston Methodist Hospital "publicly declared I was dangerous and harmful to the community. Houston Methodist closed the hearing by comparing my statements on social media, such as 'Ivermectin works' and 'Vaccine mandates are wrong' to me urging the public to ingest bleach to kill COVID."

In response to the Texas Medical Board complaint, Dr. Bowden told MedPage Today, "Houston Methodist hospital suspended my privileges in an unprecedented manner, choosing to announce my suspension to the Houston Chronicle and on Twitter, rather than reach out to me with a phone call or discuss in a private meeting as these situations are normally handled. I initially learned of my suspension from a text message from a reporter at the Houston Chronicle. Subsequently, I was inundated with media requests and the story went viral. Due to the unprofessional way in which they chose to suspend me, I immediately resigned. Consequently, Houston Methodist Hospital reported me to the medical board for resigning while under investigation. My attorney may want to comment on how they improperly suspended me, violating the rules set in their own by-laws."

"In the case of Texas Huguley Hospital, I was asked by Jason Jones' wife to help her in her lawsuit against the hospital after they refused to allow her dying husband the right to try ivermectin," her statement to MedPage Today continued. "My actions were guided by their attorney, and contrary to what the hospital claims, I did not violate any laws. The reason I declined the settlement offer from the [Texas Medical Board] is because I have done nothing wrong and believe a public hearing is the best way to clear my name."

Texas Huguley Hospital did not provide comments to MedPage Today in time for publication June 13. Houston Methodist referred MedPage Today to previous statements they had given related to Dr. Bowden.

One such statement, provided to Becker's at the time the defamation lawsuit was dismissed, said: "During the heart of the pandemic, Dr. Bowden had her privileges suspended by Houston Methodist for spreading false information that was dangerous to the public and other inappropriate behavior. In her lawsuit, Bowden claimed that she was defamed by Houston Methodist for correcting her admittedly false statement that the hospital turned away unvaccinated patients."

Dr. Boom added at the time: "We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on our patients, employees and community. As healthcare workers, we have a sacred oath to 'do no harm,' and part of that oath means doing everything possible to prevent the spread of misinformation that is harmful to our community."

According to MedPage Today, a hearing regarding the Texas Medical Board complaint is scheduled for April 2024.


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