Ochsner and Lourdes’ tenuous position on mandates

   

In a press release dated September 20, 2021, attorney Jimmy Faircloth on behalf of a group of “Acadiana Frontline Heroes,” announced that the legal battle has begun to preserve the constitutionally protected rights of healthcare workers employed at Ochsner Lafayette General and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. As requested, attorneys for Ochsner Lafayette and Our Lady of Lourdes responded on Friday, September 17th, and declined to withdraw their vaccination policies, citing among other things the recent Biden administration Executive Order which ties Medicare/Medicaid participation to hospital employee vaccination. 

Oddly enough, the attorneys for Lourdes, Melissa Shirley and Thomas Temple, argue that Art. 1, Section 5, the Louisiana Consititution’s Right to Privacy clause, “does not provide an independent cause of action against a private, non-governmental actor” and yet they are implementing the mandate in part because of a federal government executive order. In response, attorneys Faircloth, Shelly Maturin, and Angela Bryson, in two separate lawsuits (one against Ochsner Lafayette General and another against Our Lady of Lourdes) filed on behalf of the now identified Lafayette healthcare workers, dismantle the hospitals’ predictable and unsupported argument that COVID-19 vaccination is a necessary element to “save lives and end the pandemic. 

Plaintiffs expose hospitals’ tenuous position

Once again citing settled Louisiana law (La. Const. art. I, La. R.S. 40:1159.7) and its many case precedents, Faircloth et al make a solid argument that:

“Louisiana citizens have a fundamental right to decide whether to obtain or reject medical treatment grounded in the state constitution, codified in statute, and long-recognized by the courts in the context of informed consent and the tort of invasion of privacy.” With undeniable detail, the lawsuits expose the “scientific consensus and now-common knowledge” that the hospitals have inexplicably chosen to ignore. Incredulously, it has taken a lawsuit to bring awareness to these two hospital systems that the COVID-19 vaccines “do not prevent transmission of the disease.”  

“Early promotions about the benefits of the COVID Vaccines were overstated” as evidenced by the reversal of mask mandates and recommendations by President Biden, the CDC, and the Louisiana Department of Health. The lawsuit notes that emerging data forced Governor John Bel Edwards to admit in a press conference that:

“Based on recent CDC data, vaccinated people who do get infected have just as much virus in their systems as unvaccinated people, meaning they can likely spread the virus simply because of the power of the Delta variant.” While the lack of evidence of efficacy, durability, and safety of vaccination is duly noted, along with evidence that “natural immunity may provide superior protection than the COVID Vaccines,” the attorneys make it clear that: “…this objection is directed to the mandate itself, not to the COVID Vaccines.”

Vaccine effectiveness is irrelevant to a person’s rights to refuse treatment

Regardless of whether or not a vaccine is safe and effective, individuals should and do have the right to determine what is injected into their body without fear of reprisal or job loss. As the plaintiffs in this case have a “uniquely well-informed understanding of the virus and treatment options” as well as a better understanding of the concept of informed consent than other industries or professions, the significance of the outcome of these two lawsuits cannot be overstated.  The outcome may answer this question for every Louisiana employee: 

Does (insert your employer name)’s mandate unreasonably interfere with (insert your name)’s fundamental right to decide whether to receive or refuse medication? 

The answer is clearly yes.

The first hearing on the preliminary injunction against Ochsner Lafayette General takes place this Thursday, September 23, at 1:00 pm and will go through Friday.  Judge Tommy Frederick will hear the case in district court at 800 S. Buchanan St. in Lafayette, LA.  Parking is available at Vermillion Parking Garage at 121 E Vermillion St, directly across from the Citizens for a New Louisiana office. A shuttle is available for the short distance to the courthouse. No cell phones for smart watches are permitted in the courthouse. 

Are you a healthcare worker and want to get involved? Please see: louisianaformedicalfreedom.org 

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