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Texas doctor who promoted ivermectin as Covid treatment suspended by hospital

Houston Methodist Hospital says it suspended Dr. Mary Bowden's privileges after she spread "dangerous misinformation" on social media.

A Texas hospital suspended the privileges of a doctor who promoted ivermectin as a Covid-19 treatment and criticized vaccine mandates, saying she spread "dangerous misinformation" that is "not based in science."

Dr. Mary Bowden, an ear, nose and throat doctor at the hospital, had her privileges suspended Friday, Houston Methodist Hospital said in a statement to NBC News.  

That means she no longer has the power to admit or treat patients at the hospital as the investigation continues. Houston Methodist said she has had privileges for less than a year and had never admitted a patient. 

Houston Methodist Hospital.Aaron M. Sprecher / AP file

The hospital said she recently joined medical staff at Houston Methodist and “is using her social media accounts to express her personal and political opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine and treatments.”

Bowden promoted ivermectin, a drug generally used to deworm animals, as a treatment for Covid several times on her Twitter account, despite public health officials warning against it.

On Nov. 10 she tweeted, "Ivermectin might not be as deadly as everyone said it was. Speak up!" She also slammed vaccine mandates as "wrong" on her account.

The Food and Drug Administration has not authorized or approved ivermectin for use in preventing or treating Covid in humans and has warned against taking the veterinary form of the drug.

Bowden's opinions “are harmful to the community” and “do not reflect reliable medical evidence of the values of Houston Methodist,” the hospital said in statement shared on social media. 

Bowden told the hospital she is vaccinated, in compliance with the hospital’s requirements. 

Her lawyer, Steve Mitby, said she is not "anti-vaccine" and has treated over 2,000 Covid patients, in a statement to The Washington Post.

"Like many Americans, Dr. Bowden believes that people should have a choice and believes that all people, regardless of vaccine status, should have access to the same high quality health care," he said to the paper. Mitby did not immediately reply to an NBC News request for comment.

The hospital said it does not deny care to a patient based on vaccination status.

Houston Methodist announced in April that all staff must be vaccinated. Overall, 153 employees resigned or were terminated for failing to meet the June 7 deadline.

Bowden is the latest medical professional to face discipline for defying Covid guidelines or promoting coronavirus misinformation. 

A physician’s assistant’s license was suspended last month by the Washington Medical Commission after he allegedly promoted ivermectin as a cure for Covid-19 and prescribed it “without adequate examination to at least one person,” the WMC said in a statement at the time. 

Also last month in Connecticut, Dr. Sue McIntosh surrendered her medical license after she was accused of signing fake Covid vaccine exemption forms, the NBC affiliate in New Britain WVIT reported.