Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist who studied medicine at both the University of Texas and Stanford University, came under fire last year when she promoted Ivermectin and other early treatments for COVID-19 patients. Last November, the Houston Methodist Hospital system publicly announced a suspension of her hospital privileges at their facilities, though she resigned voluntarily.
Since then, three complaints have been filed against Bowden, with the TMB accusing her of unprofessional conduct, practices “inconsistent with public health and welfare,” and “violation of laws connected to the practice of medicine.”
According to a TMB letter to Bowden and her attorney, her case has been referred to the board’s Litigation Department and Bowden is to appear in a video conference on July 27.
One complaint regards Tarrant County Deputy Sheriff Jason Jones, who was hospitalized for COVID-19 in September 2021. After the Texas Health Huguely Hospital ventilated Jones and placed him in a medically induced coma, his wife Erin requested he be treated with Ivermectin, but the hospital denied her request. She then sued and obtained a court order to administer Ivermectin as prescribed by Bowden, but the hospital called the police to block a nurse brought by Erin from giving Jones the medication.
Late in November 2021, an appeals court ruled the hospital could not be forced to allow Ivermectin treatment.
Erin Jones told reporter Emily Miller she secretly applied Ivermectin to her husband in a paste form prescribed by Bowden, and he was released from the hospital in May 2022.
Although Jones’ wife requested the treatment in court documents, in a letter to Bowden’s attorney the TMB cites allegations that Dr. Bowden prescribed Ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19 “while [Jones] was in the ICU, without evaluating him, or obtaining informed consent for this use.”
The TMB also writes they are investigating allegations that Bowden posted photos of the staff and physicians of Texas Health Huguley Hospital who refused to administer Ivermectin “with the intent to harass, threaten and intimidate, which jeopardized their safety.”
The TMB did not identify the complainants. According to Texas statute, complaints to the board may remain anonymous to the doctor subject to the investigation.
Another complaint states that Bowden was suspended from the Houston Methodist Medical Center “due to failure to comply with COVID-19 guidelines and placing patients at risk.”
TMB rules stipulate that investigations should be completed within 180 days of a complaint, but on May 5, a board investigator notified Bowden’s attorney that the investigation would take longer since “there were unavoidable delays in obtaining an expert review of the matter under investigation in this case.”
During a 10-hour hearing with the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee last week, TMB Director of Operations Chris Palazola said that the board had received 1,800 complaints against doctors related to COVID-19 but that no medical licenses had been suspended or revoked based on COVID-19 complaints.
During the hearing Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), also a physician, urged Palazola to consider the shifting medical knowledge on COVID-19 treatments and note that some complaints surrounded doctors who had been proactive with early treatments.
Buckingham also noted that under state law Texas pharmacists can refuse to fill a prescription, and said she had heard from pharmacists that they feared losing their licenses if they filled a doctor’s prescription for Ivermectin.
In the past, TMB has disciplined physicians or revoked licenses due to fraud or illegal activities, and in September 2021 issued a statement saying they “do not endorse or prohibit any particular prescribed drugs of treatment for COVID-19 that meet the standard of care,” and that “drugs are permitted to be prescribed off-label.”
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ivermectin for use in humans for numerous conditions, use for treatment of COVID-19 is considered “off-label.”
Prescribing medications for off-label use is common, accounting for 10 to 20 percent of all prescriptions written each year, and the TMB has refrained from addressing the use of other off-label drug usages, such as puberty blockers given to children diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Sen. Bob Hall (R-Rockwall) has lambasted TMB investigations based on “third or fourth-hand complaints,” and proposes reforms requiring that complaints come only from the patient or their families or caregivers as sworn and notarized statements.
Last month, Bowden filed a federal lawsuit against the FDA over the agency’s public statements discouraging the use of Ivermectin and notes she has successfully treated more than 4,000 patients.
During last week’s state Senate hearing, Dr. Peter McCullough also testified about the need for early treatment protocols such as those using Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine and lamented that little data had been collected on those who have been successfully treated in the early stages of COVID without hospitalization.
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Holly Hansen is a freelance writer living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.