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Hospital revokes Houston doctor’s privileges for ‘spreading dangerous misinformation’ about covid on Twitter

The exterior of the Houston Methodist Hospital is seen on June 9, 2021. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Mary Bowden, an ear, nose and throat doctor at Houston Methodist Hospital, says vaccine mandates are wrong.

It’s a sentiment she has tweeted about numerous times this month, even declaring last week that she is “shifting my practice” to focus on treating unvaccinated patients.

Bowden has also used her personal Twitter account to promote the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a treatment for the coronavirus, despite warnings from public health officials advising people not to take it.

But those opinions have come at a professional cost. Bowden, who recently joined the hospital’s medical staff, has been suspended for “spreading dangerous misinformation” and sharing “harmful” personal and political opinions about the coronavirus vaccine and treatments, a hospital spokeswoman told The Washington Post.

“The physician’s privileges at Houston Methodist have been suspended,” Patti Muck said in an email. The hospital granted Bowden privileges within the last year, Muck said.

Elevated by social media and right-wing pundits and politicians, the drug is not recommended by either the FDA or its manufacturer to treat covid-19. (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

Bowden did not immediately respond to messages from The Post late Sunday. But her attorney, Steve Mitby, said his client has treated more than 2,000 covid-19 patients and is “not anti-vaccine.”

“Like many Americans, Dr. Bowden believes that people should have a choice and believes that all people, regardless of vaccine status, should have access to the same high quality health care,” Mitby said in an email to The Post.

Earlier this year, more than 150 health-care workers with the Houston Methodist resigned or were terminated for not complying with its vaccine mandate. The Houston-based hospital system said Bowden, who is vaccinated against the coronavirus, has never admitted a patient at the medical center, which has treated more than 25,000 covid patients. The hospital was one of the country’s first to require proof of vaccination.

The Houston doctor is the latest medical professional suspended for promoting coronavirus misinformation and the consumption of ivermectin, an unproven treatment the Food and Drug Administration has said can be “dangerous” and potentially fatal.

Last month, the Washington Medical Commission suspended a physician assistant’s license after reviewing more than a dozen complaints alleging the pediatric health-care provider promoted ivermectin as a cure for covid-19 and prescribed the unproven treatment to at least one patient without adequate examination. The physician assistant, the medical board also found, “harassed” hospitals to prescribe ivermectin to patients infected with the virus.

Medical board suspends PA’s license, claiming he prescribed ivermectin and ‘harassed’ hospitals to do the same

Health-care providers have also faced consequences over coronavirus-related documentation. In September, the Connecticut Medical Examining Board suspended the license of a retired physician who mailed fake coronavirus vaccine and mask exemption forms to help people evade testing, mask and immunization requirements.

According to her Twitter account, Bowden has openly promoted the use of ivermectin, a drug used to kill parasites in animals and humans, as a covid treatment for some patients.

“Ivermectin might not be as deadly as everyone said it was,” Bowden tweeted on Nov. 10. “Speak up!”

Neither the FDA nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have approved or recommended ivermectin as a covid treatment.

Mitby, Bowden’s attorney, said the doctor combines monoclonal antibodies with “certain experimental drug treatments” when treating most covid-19 patients.

He added: “Her early treatment methods work and are saving lives. If America had more doctors like Dr. Bowden, COVID outcomes would be much better.”

Mitby did not immediately respond when asked about Bowden’s tweets promoting the use of ivermectin to treat covid.

Bowden is also involved in another dispute with a Texas hospital that has declined to prescribe ivermectin to Jason Jones, a Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office deputy who has been hospitalized with covid for over a month. The deputy’s wife recently sued the hospital, demanding that Bowden be granted temporary privileges to prescribe and administer the drug to her husband.

Bowden has used her Twitter account to repeatedly post pictures of medical providers working at that hospital whom she says have declined to give the man the unproven drug.

Texas Health Huguley Hospital has argued in court documents that prescribing ivermectin to the patient “is outside of the standard of care.”

“[E]ven if Mr. Jones had a legal right to take Ivermectin, there is no authority … that such a ‘right’ compels a physician or health care provider to administer it to him,” the hospital stated.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant. Here’s some guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

Variants: Instead of a single new Greek letter variant, a group of immune-evading omicron spinoffs are popping up all over the world. Any dominant variant will likely knock out monoclonal antibodies, targeted drugs that can be used as a treatment or to protect immunocompromised people.

Tripledemic: Hospitals are overwhelmed by a combination of respiratory illnesses, staffing shortages and nursing home closures. And experts believe the problem will deteriorate further in coming months. Here’s how to tell the difference between RSV, the flu and covid-19.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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