Hey, there! Log in / Register

Beth Israel nurse says hospital forced her to get a Covid-19 shot that made her sick, then fired her when she refused the second, so she sues

A long-time nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center says she got the first of two required Covid-19 shots under pressure from hospital administrators - and with God's OK - then fell seriously ill, refused the second shot and was fired.

In a lawsuit filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, Catherine Morrill, 55, charges the hospital had no right to force her to get a second shot in spite of her Christian beliefs - and her reaction to her first Moderna shot - and is seeking at least $3 million in damages for the end of her 17-year BI career on July 21, 2022. She alleges the hospital concocted her firing - more than a year after the state formally ended its Covid-19 state of emergency - to deprive her of her retirement benefits.

In her complaint, filed by Lynnfield lawyer Richard Chambers, who has become a specialist in Boston-area Covid-19 lawsuits - Morrill says she got the first of two shots in August, 2021 (Ed. note: The complaint says "2022" but that does not fit in with her timeline, in part because she was fired in July, 2022) and came down with debilitating headaches that lasted for eight weeks, joint pain and rashes.

To this day, Morrill continues with aches in her joints and an exacerbation in her eczema.

The suit says Beth Israel then ignored Morrill's constitutional right to skip the shots, first for medical reasons, then for religious reasons:

Morrill is a devout Christian, and her religious beliefs are based on the Bible and her God-given natural immunity, as opposed to man-made, artificial immunity derived from Covid-19 vaccines. Morrill asserted to BILH in her request, that she went with God's faith to receive the first Covid-19 vaccine which caused her much physical harm and moving forward could not in good conscience allow any other vaccine into her body as she feels it goes directly against her teachings.

Morrill's complaint says she asked for a medical exemption based on her reaction to the first shot she got. The complaint says the hospital initially granted her a short exemption after her primary-care physician described her medical issues, but that the hospital then told her it had concluded her symptoms were not a reaction to the shot. It then refused her request for a religious exemption.

Both rejections were a violation of federal law because "Congress only has the authority to mandate a Vaccine Policy" and so the hospital "lacked the authority" to force employees to get the shots, especially of an "unlicensed vaccine product" - and to then reject her requests for exemptions - the complaint asserts.

In federal court, judges have recently dismissed two similar suits by Boston-area hospital employees with a similar religious claim, in part saying they failed to identify specific religious tenets that speak against vaccination. Federal judges have also pointed to a 1905 Supreme Court ruling involving a Cambridge minister and his sons during a smallpox outbreak that says public-health concerns can take precedence over other laws in a public-health emergency.

Morrill says her firing has seriously harmed her life:

As a result of her termination, Morrill suffered stress and turmoil in her life. The termination has denied her the ability to continue in a career that she loved and built for over 35 years. This termination made her feel like a second-class citizen that has no rights or benefits. It has caused her significant financial harm.

Complete complaint (1.8M PDF).

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 


Ad:


Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

I'm literally doing a project that read the entire Jewish Bible straight through, over the course of 3 1/2 years. Nowhere have I seen anything about not getting a vaccine. Perhaps it's in the New Testament tho?

up
Voting closed 2

Assuming she had a true adverse reaction that was documented by a provider, as this seems to state, wouldn't she potentially have a decent case for them not providing a disability exemption? There is ADA case law and technical guidance around people's medical conditions not necessarily presenting in a textbook manner, and generally when someone has provided documentation, an employer doesn't get to do the whole "well, X isn't listed in the official symptomatology of what you claim to have" or "but you're able to do Y sometimes so that means you are able to do it consistently."

Because the argument she's trying to make that Jesus approved of her first shot but not her second one doesn't seem to really hold water/wine/whatever.

up
Voting closed 3

n/t

up
Voting closed 2

Gods will.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm a biology PhD, work at a hospital, got the first Pfizer COVID shots early in the healthcare worker wave, and have been "turbo boosting" since 2021 with a total count of 9 based on my own perusal of published data showing antibodies waning within a few months. I've been getting my annual flu shot every year since I was a kid. All that is to provide the bona fides necessary to make the following statement without being immediately dismissed:

For an unpredictable minority of people, vaccine injury in general is a very real thing and needs to be accommodated medically. I fully believe some people experienced severe adverse reactions from the mRNA COVID shots. Based on the symptoms in this post, it sounds like an immune system overreaction that caused widespread inflammation. Some COVID patients have similar things happen as the result of a cytokine storm.

up
Voting closed 3

That she doesn't believe in vaccines because of her "god-given immunity" and receives a vaccine that happens to cause all these issues.

I'm sure there are people who have severe reactions to vaccines or medication, but this story just feels suspect.

How would anyone prove the vaccine did or did not cause the symptoms they have now?

up
Voting closed 2

So, stand on that and don't bring "God " into it.

up
Voting closed 3

Except "God" only got brought in when bureaucrats decided we no longer required informed consent.

up
Voting closed 1

...on earth are you talking about?

up
Voting closed 5

that for some time the vaccine was largely compulsory if you wanted to participate in "normal" social activities

up
Voting closed 1

I thought I had received every shot I am eligible for, and I have 7 --the first two in spring of 2021, then boosters or updates in fall 2021, spring 2022, fall 2022, spring 2023, and fall 2023.

After the next one, whenever that is, there won't be any more room on the (second) CDC card.

up
Voting closed 3

...but in MA they're no longer updating cards. "It's all online."

up
Voting closed 1

Even before the first booster was widely authorized, it was approved for people with some kind of immunodeficiency, including temporarily from taking medications like steroids for asthma. Identifying to the pharmacist that you met those conditions was generally sufficient. Alternatively, most states did not share records, and a lot of the northeast is a quick drive.

up
Voting closed 1

Vaccine cards have gone digital, so that healthcare centers have people's vaccines on record.

I got all 8 Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, including the 2023-2024 Moderna vaccine, in October 2023. From what I heard, there won't be anymore Covid-19 vaccines until the fall of 2024.

up
Voting closed 1

It's a good thing your education taught you that diagnosing someone for vaccine injury based on a UHub post of a lawsuit filing isn't a valid diagnosis, eh?

As a "bioinformatics PhD", let's leave the doctoring to the MDs to figure out what she has and if she wants to provide evidence to the court from an MD who diagnosed her with vaccine injury, she will and might even win...but given the fact that she went from "oh, it hurt me" to "oh, my religion says I can't" as soon as the employer pushed back on the first excuse...I'm gonna bet that MD doesn't exist.

up
Voting closed 1

Mjolnir didn't say this person *definitely* had a strong adverse reaction to the vaccine. They said that this sort of thing happens sometimes. And you don't have to have a bio PhD to know that -- it's basic health literacy that some people have bad reactions to some medicines. Vaccines aren't some magical exception to that.

I'm getting some partisan-thinking vibes here.

up
Voting closed 2

If I had a penny for every MD I've interacted with over the last 4 years who clearly had never read a published paper in the Lancet since medical school, I'd have an MD's salary. It's been pretty easy for even a layperson to keep more current with COVID-related science than medical professionals often seem to be. I would hope someone who's been through any PhD program would come out the other end knowing that an appeal to authority like that is a pretty silly argument.

up
Voting closed 1

I'm gonna bet that MD doesn't exist.

Fox finds these quack doctors all the time!

up
Voting closed 2

Having even a mild case of Covid-19 itself (i. e. the disease) can increase one's risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, and/or experiencing permanent pulmonary damage as a consequence.

up
Voting closed 3

If her problem with the vaccine is that it's artificial, why is she fine with other artificial practices like living in a house instead of a cave, or eating food she didn't hunt or gather personally?

(It's a rhetorical question.)

up
Voting closed 2

If she had a bad reaction, that's important.

But then why is she now going all GodSquad about it?

This makes no sense. Vaccine reactions and injuries do happen, and people can be allergic to vaccine components ... but she does a 180 degree turn with a double back flip twist in to religion which, frankly, sends the entire lawsuit into the manure spreader.

AND, if she has been a "longtime nurse" she would have been required to be fully vaccinated if she worked for a major hospital. So... what, exactly, is it about this particular vaccine that sent her into paroxysms of gibbering?

up
Voting closed 2

If she had a legitimate adverse reaction to the vaccine there would be no reason to try the religious argument.

The hospital concluded that there was no merit to that claim. I would imagine that they had doctors in the hospital weigh in on that determination.

I suppose it would be possible that the hospital management exerted pressure for doctors to come to that conclusion. But then the next logical step for her (and the lawyer advising her) would be to have an independent medical professional examine you and back the claim of an adverse reaction, not to retreat to the religion argument.

It makes no sense to go from a fairly strong claim to a very weak one like she did.

up
Voting closed 2

There is something funny here--and not a ha-ha funny, if one gets the drift.

up
Voting closed 2

No major recognized religion has edicts preventing people from getting the Covid vaccine - even Christian scientists can make their own decision ( the few I know got it) - now, yes vaccine reactions are real, my sister gets ill from H1N1 oddly - but to hide behind God for a vaccine which probably means she is part of the MAGA crazy crowd - shows this to be fishy.

Forget politics, forget religion - if a cop or a fireman or medical worker refused the vaccine it was usually either to force the union to get something for them, or because they were some woodwork wacko. Military people would take a bullet or die but they won’t get a jab? Get the Hell out.

The pandemic really showed us 1/3 of the country would rather suffer and die and make others suffer vs try to take preventative measures, Covid would probably not be the recurring annoyance and causing more illness if people maybe masked more and places like Florida were cut off from east of the country until their biased ignorant leadership was run out of office.

Americans decided t9 trap the old and the vulnerable at home so they could go out to eat, nice. Hope Applebees was worth it.

up
Voting closed 2

If someone doesn't believe in medicine, they shouldn't work in a hospital.

Whatever problems she claims to have suffered from the vaccine should be compared against the unnecessary deaths from the early deadly variants of covid. It's hard to visualize the immensity of the tragedy: 1.1 million deaths in the United States.

up
Voting closed 1