Texas hospital suspends doctor’s privileges for spreading ‘misinformation’ about COVID-19

The Houston Methodist name is seen on one of the buildings in the Methodist Hospital system on Sunday, July 5, 2020 in Houston. (Matt Patterson via AP)

(CNN) — A Texas hospital says it has suspended the privileges of a doctor who spread misinformation about COVID-19 on her social media.

Dr. Mary Bowden, an ear, nose and throat doctor at Houston Methodist Hospital, posted “harmful” and “dangerous misinformation” about COVID -19 and its treatments, according to the hospital.

The doctor was a recent addition to Houston Methodist’s medical staff and used her social media to “express her personal and political opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine and treatments,” Houston Methodist said in a statement on Twitter.

“Her privileges have been suspended,” a spokesperson for the hospital told CNN.

Bowden’s attorney Steven Mitby said the doctor has treated “more than 2,000 patients with COVID -19” at her private practice and that none of them have ended up in the hospital.

“Her early treatment methods work and are saving lives,” he added.

“Dr. Bowden has the utmost respect for Houston Methodist and is proud of the work she has done along with her colleagues at Houston Methodist.”

Bowden’s Twitter account shows a series of tweets praising the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have cautioned people against using the drug to treat COVID -19, CNN has reported.

Ivermectin is used to treat parasites such as worms and lice in humans and it is also used by veterinarians to de-worm large animals. The CDC warned about a sharp increase in reports of severe illness caused by the drug to poison centers.

Doctor outspoken against vaccine mandates

Along with advocating for the use of ivermectin, Bowden also frequently criticizes vaccine mandates on her social media accounts, with Mitby adding that “Dr. Bowden is not anti-vaccine,” but believes “people should have a choice.”

The doctor herself is vaccinated, as mandated by the hospital for all physicians who work at Houston Methodist, the hospital said. In June, over 150 employees left the hospital after they put a vaccine mandate in place.

“Dr. Bowden, who has never admitted a patient at Houston Methodist Hospital, is spreading dangerous misinformation which is not based in science,” Houston Methodist added.

“These opinions, which are harmful to the community, do not reflect reliable medical evidence or the values of Houston Methodist.”

As the COVID -19 pandemic continues, with deaths in the United States surpassing 762,692 and the casualties increasingly come from the ranks of the unvaccinated, there still remains a small group of doctors who have emerged as a huge source of misinformation, a CNN investigation found.

These doctors share a miasma of conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID -19 vaccines, which have thus far proven the most effective weapon against the deadliest pandemic in 100 years.

“These doctors are taking advantage of the trust in them,” said David Lazer, a political science and computer sciences professor at Northeastern University. “They are using the prestige of that term ‘doctor’ to convey misinformation.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the hospital personnel who left due to the vaccine mandate. It was 150 employees.

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