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Attorney appeals Ochsner vaccine suit rulings

Posted at 11:09 AM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 13:12:54-04

UPDATE: We reached out to Ochsner to find out what percentage of their employees are now vaccinated.

They provided us this statement with the most recently available figures. The statement is from Warner Thomas, President and CEO, Ochsner Health

“As of Wednesday, October 6, more than 86% of Ochsner Health employees are fully vaccinated and 90% have received their first dose. We’ve seen this number continue to grow since we announced our employee vaccination requirement on August 24 following full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, when 69% of our employees were vaccinated. We’re proud to see members of our team roll up their sleeves each day to protect themselves and our patients.

"Just as other health systems and large employers have experienced, employee vaccination requirements paired with ongoing vaccine education and outreach have been very successful. As we approach our October 29 deadline, we’re doubling down on our outreach efforts including open forums, in-unit rounding, educational resources and round-the-clock vaccination opportunities to our team. We continue to receive and review medical and religious exemption requests from employees and have continued to communicate that process to our team members.

"Requiring the vaccine for our employees, providers and vendors is an important step towards protecting our patients, employees and community. As one of the region’s largest employers and healthcare providers, we lead by example. We have taken care of approximately 30% of Louisiana’s hospitalized COVID-19 patients – representing nearly 20,000 lives. This policy will reduce severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

"While we confidently support and believe in the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination, we understand there are individuals who have concerns and questions. We remain committed to being a resource for our team, patients and community.

Attorneys for local hospital employees have appealed a court ruling that allowed vaccine mandates to proceed.

Court records indicate that the Alexandria law firm representing employees of Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center have appealed rulings in the Ochsner lawsuit filed last month.

The suits were filed on behalf of employees who don't want to comply with the hospitals' mandate that they get vaccinated against COVID-19. Judges in both cases rejected the plaintiffs' request that the mandates - which require that employees get vaccinated or be fired - be halted. Here's the story about the Lourdes case. Here's the story about the Ochsner case.

According to court records, appeals were filed with the Third Circuit Court of Appeal and the state Supreme Court in the Ochsner case.

The rulings were different in each case; the judge in the Ochsner case rejected the suit altogether, saying that the hospital is a private employer and can require vaccines if they want to. The judge in the Lourdes case told the plaintiffs to come back to the court if and when they are actually fired.

The appeals basically reiterate the plaintiff's original arguments regarding the mandate, and request that the Third Circuit or the Supreme Court grant their request to stop the mandate.

The attorney handling the cases explained the legal details of these two appeals to our media partners at The Advocate. To read that story, click here.