HOUSTON — A Houston doctor has parted ways with Houston Methodist before ever admitting a patient.
Dr. Mary Bowden resigned from Houston Methodist after the hospital said she was spreading misinformation about COVID-19 on social media. Dr. Bowden was suspended last week. In a series of tweets, the hospital said she was spreading “dangerous misinformation (about COVID-19 on social media) which is not based in science.”
Bowden, an ear, nose and throat doctor, is now defending herself.
Bowden said she was suspended last week after the hospital learned she planned to only treat unvaccinated patients at her private practice. She said it's a policy change she isn't enforcing and said it was to prove a point that unvaccinated patients shouldn't be treated differently.
"I never closed my doors. I was open seven days a week during the pandemic. I’ve tested over 80,000 people for COVID. I’ve treated over 2,000 people for COVID. I’ve tried to stay ahead of COVID. I have tried to be proactive in treating my patients. I’m not dangerous. I’m not doing anything dangerous. For them to paint me that way is ridiculous," Bowden said. "I will continue to see any and all COVID patients. I would never turn away someone with a life-threatening illness. But for the routine ENT stuff, I was going to prioritize the unvaccinated."
Bowden tweeted in opposition to vaccine mandates and in favor of treating some COVID-19 patients with Ivermectin, which is a drug federal health officials said has not been proven safe and effective in treating the virus.
"If someone has an illness, they have an illness. What difference does it make if they have been vaccinated? You’re going to treat them. It’s like saying you’re a smoker, we’ll put you in the back of the line for treating your lung cancer. That’s not the way it goes in medicine," Bowden said.
Houston Methodist Hospital's response
This past Friday, Houston Methodist posted the following series of tweets about Dr. Bowden:
"Dr. Mary Bowden, who recently joined the medical staff at Houston Methodist Hospital, is using her social media accounts to express her personal and political opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine and treatments.
"These opinions, which are harmful to the community, do not reflect reliable medical evidence or the values of Houston Methodist, where we have treated more than 25,000 COVID-19 inpatients, and where all our employees and physicians are vaccinated to protect our patients.
"Despite what she has posted, Houston Methodist does not and will never deny care to a patient based on vaccination status.
"Dr. Bowden, who has never admitted a patient at Houston Methodist Hospital, is spreading dangerous misinformation which is not based in science.
"Furthermore, Dr. Bowden has told Houston Methodist that she is vaccinated, as required of all physicians who practice at Houston Methodist."
Houston Methodist CEO and President Dr. Marc Boom statement:
“Houston Methodist Hospital's medical staff leadership decided to suspend and investigate Dr. Bowden for her inappropriate behavior, including spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. As a physician, I am personally offended by her behavior and by her misleading comments about COVID-19 and our hospital system, which has treated more than 25,000 inpatients with COVID-19 — vaccinated and unvaccinated. Her claim that Houston Methodist will not treat unvaccinated patients is absolutely false.
Houston Methodist cares for all patients and considers every individual a person of sacred worth and value."
“She was also suspended for using vulgar and foul language while expressing her opinions. This inappropriate and disrespectful language violates our core values at Houston Methodist, and reflects poorly on Houston Methodist, our physicians and the medical profession as a whole. When Dr. Bowden refused to remove these inaccurate and misleading statements from her social media accounts, the medical staff leadership decided to suspend her while they conducted an investigation, and invited her to speak with them. Instead of doing that, Dr. Bowden voluntarily resigned from the medical staff before a review was completed.”
Bowden said she will continue to treat patients the way she believes is right. She said she's helping people and treatment plans differ between each patient.
"Ivermectin isn’t one size fits all. Nothing in medicine is cookie-cutter or we wouldn’t need doctors. We would just go on Amazon and treat ourselves," Bowden said. "I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing because I’m helping people."