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Nurse sues Boston Medical Center for firing her after she refused to get Covid-19 shots

A registered nurse who belongs to a church that rejects all vaccines in favor of spinal adjustments and who says the antibodies she developed after contracting Covid-19 are far stronger than any "products advertised as COVID-19 vaccines" is suing Boston Medical Center for firing her last last year when she refused to get vaccinated.

In her suit, filed today in US District Court in Boston, Tara Harmon of Scituate is seeking damages, including for emotional distress, for the alleged violation of her Constitutional right to freedom of religion. A number of Mass General Brigham employees filed a similar suit last year.

Harmon says BMC could have made reasonable accommodations to let her keep her job last year rather than trying to force her to get vaccinated under a policy the hospital announced in July. Harmon, who says she had been employed as a BMC nurse since 2000, was a cardivascular nurse re-assigned to the emergency department at the height of the pandemic in 2020.

Her legal complaint starts with a contention that the vaccines don't prevent disease and that, in any case, she had a bolstered immune system:

At all material times, Defendant knew or should have known that the products advertised as “COVID-19 vaccines” do not stop recipients from contracting and transmitting COVID-19.

Plaintiff recovered from COVID-19 and has a degree of immunity against the disease that exceeds any temporary protection conferred by the products advertised as “COVID-19 vaccines.” Plaintiff had been part of a BMC-funded study of frontline nurses that showed that Plaintiff had COVID-19 antibodies. Defendant was aware of these facts when it imposed the injection as a condition of continued employment and when it terminated Plaintiff’s employment.

She alleges the fact that people who get shots can still contract Covid-19 proves the vaccines are useless; her complaint does not, however, attempt to dispute CDC statments that the vaccine lessens the severity of illness even in people who contract it and reduces the risks of death or long-term illness.

But in any case, she continues, making her get a shot violates her religious rights, because she is a member of "the Church of Universal Wisdom," possibly meaning the Congregation of Universal Wisdom, which disdains traditional medicine, in particular vaccines, because "the laying on of hands to the vertebrae shall be the sole means of maintaining the LIFE FORCE through Universal Wisdom." Vaccines, the group claims, are "sacrilege," as are skin tests for tuberculosis.

Harmon's complaint alleges that:

Accommodating Plaintiff’s sincerely held religious observance, practice, and beliefs that prohibit her from being injected with the products advertised as COVID-19 vaccines would not have caused Defendant undue hardship.

Also:

Defendant failed to engage with Plaintiff in an interactive process in efforts to reasonably accommodate her religious beliefs that prohibit her from receiving the products advertised as COVID-19 vaccines.

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Comments

….. science and qualify as health care professionals have these wacky beliefs.

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Voting closed 86

pseudo-scientific quackery, though I understand it helps some people with back pain. Elevating it to a religion is a whole 'nother level of stupidity.

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Voting closed 34

Dont knock it, until you try it. Although, i dont think it can cure cancer!

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Voting closed 14

I now suspect that doing nothing would also have helped a little.

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Voting closed 32

I have a friend with a very real back injury that was made even worse by a chiropractor putting too much pressure on his spine when it was already hurt. If you have lower back pain, I'd suggest first going to an actual doctor and trying physical therapy to make sure it's not something more serious before you allow someone to start manipulating your spine.

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Voting closed 21

Exactly my experience - the "manipulation" left me in agony and much worse than I went in.

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Voting closed 10

and covers everything from practitioners who basically just do physical therapy to... well, some pretty wackadoo stuff. (This is clearly on the latter end of things.)

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Voting closed 12

About 10 years ago, I couldn't walk without a cane, and a few adjustments fixed me. I'll never doubt chiropracty.

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Voting closed 13

Sciatica is one of the conditions for which there's evidence that chiropractic intervention (massage, stretches, strengthening exercises, posture work) is effective. However, OT/PT can also treat this just as effectively and in the same way.

Chiropractors are notorious though for 1) working way out of their scope and making completely pseudoscientific claims as to what they can address, 2) performing dangerous orthopedic manipulations that can and do cause spinal cord injuries and strokes, and 3) not communicating appropriately with other professions on the team and respecting the different roles and skills.

There are always people in any profession who do their job better than others, but OTs and PTs for the most part have it pretty ingrained to work cooperatively with the team, used evidence-based practices, and not yank on people's limbs in ways that can maim or kill them.

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Voting closed 26

To be clear, the "nurse" in question is a deplorable whacko, and there are bad apples in every profession.

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Voting closed 5

[Double Post]

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Voting closed 4

(Usual caveat of "not all" and all that.)

Pretty much everywhere I've worked, there have been entry-level nurses and entry-level social workers who really just were high-school bullies who never grew up. There's a saying in the defense community that female bullies become nurses or social workers and male bullies become cops. No word on what bullies of other genders become.

My observation is that they're attracted to these roles because they require minimal education but can wield relatively massive power. With an associate's degree, someone can get into these jobs in which what they say about a person is considered factual and can result in them getting arrested, committed, or their kids taken away. I've seen so many people in these roles blatantly lie because they've decided based on some concrete-thinking fringe belief that someone is less of a human than they are. These people know better than anyone else, and they often have a disdain for critical thinking despite being surrounded by it. They're not yet to the point in education or life in which they know what they don't know. So, yeah, a lot of anti-vaxxers and various conspiracy theories abound in this subculture.

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Voting closed 18

She should have been fired for incompetence whether or not she agreed to be vaccinated. A person acting as a medical professional who denies fundamental tenets of medical science is dangerous. Are companies that design airplanes required to employ engineers who insist that Galileo was wrong and Aristotle was right concerning falling bodies?

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Voting closed 79

Healthcare is terrible in terms of setting clear and firm limits in terms of what constitutes a belief/behavior that's irreconcilably inconsistent with being suited for the job. There are plenty of practicing providers, including at the independent level, who openly spew all kinds of erroneous and harmful information. It's pretty hard to go after their licenses, because boards are really hard-core stuck on this idea that there has to be a patient complaining or an injury etc. that took place directly related to patient care. Just look at the physicians who are testifying in Florida right now that using the correct pronouns and name for minors is harmful, despite ample evidence that actually it saves lives and doesn't remotely cause harm.

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Voting closed 12

the fact that she's filed this suit with her real name attached to it, thus Streisand Effecting her way into being a radioactively unhireable slag heap. On the offchance this makes it to trial, I hope BMC's legal team decide to make an example of her and go after her for frivolous litigation and legal fees.

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Voting closed 46

I have a lot of uses for “radioactively unhireable slag heap”

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Voting closed 18

Taking this at face value, she thinks that all non-chiropractic medical care is sacrilege. Therefore, she is demanding to be reinstated in a job that would require her to commit sacrilege several times a day.

This goes beyond demanding the right to transmit infectious diseases to injured and immune-compromised patients. A lot of anti-vaxxers are willing to provide a variety of medical care other than vaccines, such as running IVs, giving people pills and asthma inhalers, setting broken bones, and assisting in surgery.

All of those sound like "sacrilege" by this person's definition of the term. Nobody, including BMC, should have to employ someone as a nurse who won't give patients medicine or even IV saline, bandage a wound, or treat a broken arm (arm bones are not vertebrae).

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Voting closed 42

I am thankful that the hospitals are fighting for their right to insist that anyone who comes in contact with patients be vaccinated.

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Voting closed 40

needs to revoke the license of a "nurse" who doesn't know what the definitions of transmission and severity of disease are, along with the function actions of vaccinations.

As a former nursing educator, this idiot would not have passed a basic pharmacology course in a decent nursing program. However, I failed students who appealed their course failure to non-nursing administrators and were passed and promoted against my stated evidence against allowing these know nothings to practice on the public.

No one should ever wonder why nursing educators are retiring and have always been in very short supply.

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Voting closed 1

She had been employed at BMC for over 20 years. During that time she would have been required to have had flu shots, boosters for several other vaccines and TB skin test. Did they accept her religious beliefs then? It would seem that continuity of the situation should hold for Covid vaccination.

How did she maintain employment in the medical field for 20+ years without encountering a similar problem? It is a requirement of employment to maintain vaccination status.

I will be interested to see what the outcome will be. Hoping that BMC has been consistent in their policy over the years.

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Voting closed 15

Does BMC mandate the annual flu vaccine for staff (if not, why not?) and if so, why is she just now filing a lawsuit if she's worked there for 20 years?

Additionally, I find it ironic that they call themselves a Church of Universal Wisdom given their stances. Feels more like an instance of the church doth protest too much.

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Voting closed 3