Judge dismisses physician's $25M defamation case against Houston Methodist

A district judge in Texas has dismissed a physician's $25 million defamation case against Houston Methodist Hospital and ordered her to pay attorney fees, according to a hospital statement shared with Becker's

Mary Bowden, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist who runs a private practice, filed the lawsuit in July 2022 after the hospital suspended her privileges in November 2021 for using her social media accounts to spread what Houston Methodist described as misinformation about COVID-19. Dr. Bowden voluntarily resigned following her suspension.

On Jan. 30, Judge Mike Engelhart, of the 151st Civil District Court in Harris County, heard arguments in the case, and the ruling appeared on the online docket on Jan. 31, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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."

Marc Boom, MD, president and CEO of Houston Methodist, said in a statement: "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."

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