Air Vaccines? A Conversation with Whistleblowers at Houston Methodist

Vaccinated nurse fainting and a top exec allegedly offering secret air injections


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Last week, I had the joy of interviewing three brave whistleblowers at the Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, the first hospital in the country to “lead the way” and to “proudly” introduce vaccine mandates in 2021—first, for nurses and other employees, then for credentialed physicians.

The names of the whistleblowers are Dr. Venu Julapalli, Dr. Mary Crow, and nurse Owen Robinson (RN).

In the course of the conversation, I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that I am living in the decaying USSR. Everything they described matched the psychological dynamic that I know too well: the fear of speaking out, the censorship, the abyss between the “public policy” and the “private policy,” the insurmountable absurdity of the public policy, the intellectual paralysis as a reaction to internalized abuse, “knowing the right person” as the only avenue of “getting stuff done,” the upside-down language, the pompous sloganeering slapped on top of dysfunctional things, and so on. I know that world very well, I recognize that world, and I don’t like that world. It doesn’t have to be this way!


Some of the things we talked about in the interview:

  • All this time, physicians felt tremendous fear of being punished for speaking out against the “COVID measures.” Many expressed concerns in private but were afraid to issue even a peep in public due to the fear for their reputation and career.

  • The infamous “staffing shortages in healthcare” were, according to Owen Robinson, primarily a result of vaccine mandates.

  • Hospitals were already overwhelmed before 2020, at least in Texas. After 2020, the biggest overwhelm occurred during the “Omicron wave” when they started hospitalizing people “for COVID” who came in for, say, a broken leg and had a positive test.

    What ended up happening was that the people who were feeling fine were occupying the beds and given Remdesivir, while the people who actually needed to be hospitalized had issues getting a bed.

  • Vaccinated and boosted ICU nurses came in to work with cold symptoms and—in extreme cases—were forced to come in to work while so sick that they couldn’t actually do the work

  • It was not just in the ICU. Owen Robinson mentioned a nurse passing out on the hospital floor in the middle of the shift, while taking care of a patient who was unstable. The nurse had to be taken to the ER. What caused that nurse to pass out? Nobody knows for sure...

  • At Houston Methodist, a top executive was allegedly offering up fake vaccines to select physicians while publicly touting them as a necessary “life-saving” measure.

  • Furthermore, to add to the absurdity of the situation, the only “proof” required of physicians was to just say that they were vaccinated. As a result, perhaps, the honest and principled ones were singled out. As for the rest, what share of physicians did actually get vaccinated? No one knows that one, either.

  • The nurses, on the other hand, had to actually “show the papers” to prove that they were vaccinated.

About the whistleblowers

Dr. Venu Julapalli

Dr. Venu Julapalli is a gastroenterologist in Houston, TX, whom I am honored to call a friend. I interviewed him two years ago about the lawsuit he filed at Houston Methodist in 2021. His lawsuit it still pending.

Dr. Venu received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in in Houston, TX. In 2005, he founded a gastroenterology practice in Houston, TX. Alongside his brother, Dr. Vinay Julapalli, who is a cardiologist, Dr. Venu is on a spiritual and practical quest to bring the heart back to modern medicine and to restore the sacred relationship between patients and doctors.

After Houston Methodist mandated COVID injections for physicians in 2021, Dr. Venu Julapalli filed for a religious exemption—which was denied—and so his privileges at the hospital were suspected and eventually revoked. A side note: his brother’s religious exemption was approved. Their religion is the same.

(The term “medical privileges” stands for the right of a physician to work at a hospital. In Texas, physicians are not considered hospital employees but independent professionals who work with hospitals where they have “privileges.”)

Around the same time, in the summer of 2021, he started an internal listserv for the “medical staff” (physicians with “medical privileges”) at Houston Methodist. The purpose of the listserv was to have open discussions about what was going on. A few doctors, such as Dr. Mary Crow, were very outspoken and questioned the rationale behind the official “COVID response.” Most were afraid to talk. They had concerns—which they shared privately with Dr Julapalli—but they were too scared to speak out loud.

Dr. Mary Crow

Dr. Mary Crow is an well-respected oncologist and hematologist in Texas. She received her medical training at Baylor College of Medicine, and she has been practicing for over thirty years. In the 1990s, Dr. Crow was a Chief Oncology Fellow at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

When Houston Methodist introduced vaccine mandates for physicians, like Dr. Venu Julapalli, she applied for a religious exemption. She was denied the exemption, and she lost he medical privileges at Houston Methodist as a result.

From the get-go, Dr. Crow has been taking no prisoners in questioning the rationale behind the “COVID health measures,” and she has been backing up her questions with solid science.

Owen Robinson

Owen Robinson is a registered nurse. He has been working in critical care for twelve years. He has been working in the ICU at Houston Methodist all through 2020—and he kept working there until he was terminated for declining the booster.

Owen got the original COVID injections early on. When talking about it, he said that the general understanding in his circles was that vaccines were good and safe, and these were vaccines, so they were good and safe, etc. Also, according to Owen, the number of people dying during that time was truly larger than what he had seen before COVID, and so the general sentiment toward the vaccines in his professional circles was excitement and hope.

However, his views on the COVID injections changed when he got sick and tested positive for COVID, and other vaccinated (including boosted) nurses were getting sick as well. What “broke the camel’s back” for him was when two ICU nurses were forced by the management to come in to work while very sick, and one of them was so sick that she spent the entire day at her desk with her head down, while a new trainee nurse was doing her job.

And then another nurse, not in the ICU, passed out right on the hospital floor in the middle of the shift and had to be taken to the ER. One of that nurse’s patients was unstable and allegedly suffered as a result.

What he also saw was that the vaccinated nurses would sometimes come to work with a sore throat etc. and not think much of it at all—while the nurses who had gotten religious exemptions (that were all revoked with the bivalent booster anyway) would be swabbed every week.

Another thing he saw was a new kind of patients in the ICU—younger patients with what might have been adverse effects of vaccines—but it was explicitly discouraged to even ask about the vaccination status of such patients (with clots, etc.)

Seeing all that, Owen declined the booster—and was terminated as a result of his choice.

Excerpts from the transcript

Dr. Mary Crow:

Well, I've been on the staff of Methodist... It's ... 27 years ...  I did my medical training there. I had my kids there, they put my son's face back together who probably couldn't have ... no other facility could have. So watching this whole vaccine rollout and their rationale was very bewildering ...  and a sense of betrayal. And I think I joined my colleagues here in wondering, asking ourselves, what...  what are they ... what is going on here? It's like, you come home and you find your husband of 30 years at home in bed with a panda. And you say, what the hell is going on here? And the response is, well, don't you like animals? And then you say, well, you know, tell me please, what is going on here? And their response is, do you want a red panda or a black and white panda? No, I don't want any pandas, I want you to tell me what's going on. And time goes on. And the next response is, well, we've got more pandas, which one do you want? And you're left just going, what the hell is going on here? And it's taken us a while to sort this out. And I think we have some answers, and Venu has certainly led the way with his lawsuit, and Owen with his insights into what was happening on the ground, certainly what we all saw in the community. And we just really appreciate the opportunity to tell our story for the first time in three years.

Tessa Lena:

And so now we are coming to the juicy part of the interview, the fake, the air vaccines. So from what I understand the very top management at the hospital at Houston Methodist, the very management that was mandating the …. the vaccine effectively, and promoting it as a safety precaution, a very important one, the very same people were allegedly offering up fake vaccines to the people they liked, or the trusted ... the physicians they liked or they trusted ,to their close circle? So let's talk about that.

Dr. Venu Julapalli:

So let me give a little context to this. In the course of the exchanges that we were having on the listserv, I would get private messages from folks who would just talk about various things. It was either for support or some question. So one of those individuals, a colleague, messaged me, she had gotten her initial vaccination. And then Methodist mandated the booster. This was in February 2022. She didn't want to take the booster. So she filed her religious exemption, it was denied. And so she basically was asking, well, what am I supposed to do now. And in the course of that conversation, she wanted to talk to us, me and my brother, who's also on staff at Houston, Methodist, The Woodlands. And so we had a coffee meeting, meeting with coffee, and she told us that one of her colleagues, who is the Chief Medical Officer at Houston, Methodist at The Woodlands offered her the opportunity to fake the vaccine. Now, this is, the person who's being offered this is well respected. Obviously, the Chief Medical Officer wants to keep her there. And she told us that she was taken aback and asked the Chief Medical Officer, if this is something that was asked or offered before, or she was the first one that was offered to and, and the response apparently, that he said that, that he could neither confirm nor deny whether it was offered before. Now, of course, she didn't take up the offer. And she ended up getting a religious exemption approved shortly after all went forward. But that's what apparently is going on. Now. I don't know how pervasive this is. I don't know how extensive this is. I don't know where this stops, apparently was something that was being done within the ... the system, but I don't know how it was happening. But to me, it just is a culture issue. I mean, this is the Chief Medical Officer at this institution, the institution that started it all on this whole vaccine mandate. My understanding is that this particular person didn't even approve of the booster,  he no longer thought that this was, this was a good policy. And ... and even he even expressed that. So in that respect, I mean, it's not really even about the Chief Medical Officer, he's obviously trying to help somebody out and ... and keep somebody that is valued and respected. What kind of culture puts a person in that kind of catch 22 situation? I mean, I wouldn't do it if I were in that situation, but he's put in that situation. And he's compelled to, you know, offer somebody the Underground Railroad. There's something deeply wrong with the culture, when that very policy that was established by this institution, that they put all of their brand and all of their reputation behind ... in fact, in their own words they want to lead the country on ... has one of its own executive officers giving somebody a way out?

Tessa Lena:

Well, it poses several questions. One, the most important one of them, the one that is straight in our faces is that if somebody truly believed that the vaccines are needed for safety, then one would not offer a fake one because then one would be afraid for his own life, right? Because if there are unvaccinated people walking around spreading the disease, you don't want to make more unvaccinated people. You want everybody to get it. If you're genuinely thinking that that's what's needed to protect our health. And his own, for that matter.

Dr. Venu Julapalli:

I mean, that's...  that's such an obvious thing that we actually take that for granted. But you're absolutely correct. I mean, that leads ... that really calls up this point, how do we know anybody's done anything? I mean, there was no verification process. I mean, if you were just ... if you said you were vaccinated, you were considered vaccinated. So, you know, Methodists will keep going out there, the CEO, Dr. Marc Boom, would go out onto CNN, MSNBC, saying we're 99% vaccinated. Well, how does he know that? I mean, how does he know who actually took it? Or who actually faked it? How do we know anything at that point?

Tessa Lena:

Well, theoretically, if you decided to be dishonest and not fight the honest fight but instead say that you got the vaccine, just say it, would anybody check your records, your ... your card, your CDC card or anything like that?

Dr. Venu Julapalli:

As far as the medical stuff was concerned, no.

Tessa Lena:

So chances that some people, just by human nature, that are considered vaccinated on the system now, that maybe they didn't even get it, they just said it? It's possible?

Dr. Venu Julapalli:

 Oh I think it's possible, yes. And how pervasive is it ... is the next question on my mind.

Tessa Lena:

I mean, the absurdity of it is just stunning. And so, and as far as you know, this, air vaccine was offered on the booster mandate stage of it, right?

Dr. Venu Julapalli:

That's when we were informed of the story. So that ... that leads to another question. Well, how, when was the system like this begun? Was it begun at the very beginning? Did it only come on later, when, you know, other information had come out, and people were getting more reluctant to do this? I can certainly say that by the time of the booster mandate, in terms of what I was getting, because we actually surveyed this on the listserv,  the medical staff had started originally, in vast majorities of support for the first series. So we were in the minority, those of us who didn't, who felt that mandatory vaccination was not a good policy, we were in the minority. By the time of the booster mandate, which was February 2022, that tide had completely turned. I mean, we had in our survey, 75 to 80% of people saying that the booster mandate and termination of privileges as a result of not following that mandate was not a good policy. Of course, they don't say that in public and on the record, but they would say that anonymously on a survey.

Owen Robinson:

So I just want to say, you know, as far as nursing goes, respiratory therapists, housekeeping, no one that I know was offered any sort of fake vaccine at our level, and we were required to either be vaccinated by Methodist and have their own electronic record, or we had to produce records from another facility where we were vaccinated to prove that we've been vaccinated.

Tessa Lena:

Wow. So there's a difference in how they treated nursing staff and ...

Dr. Venu Julapalli:

Right... what kind of ... I mean  .... I mean, so you know, if something like the system existed, it was only offered to physicians, but the nurses were out, social workers were out.  The entire arbitrariness of this is something that, regardless of where one stands on the merits of the vaccine itself, I mean, should make people really think about what exactly is going on in these hospital systems.

Owen Robinson:

So went with the first round of COVID, the hospital was not overwhelmed. We shut down all this surgeries. We did not have a lot of PPE, we were reusing PPE and using PPE in an inappropriate manner. So basically, there was no way everyone wasn't already exposed. So we worked in that environment for months and months. And even after we .. we had all the PPE again, we were dealing with COVID for about a year and a half before the vaccine came out. In that time we did .... with the first round we saw people die, was usually multi system organ failure ... that acted completely differently. We saw ... it went straight to the lungs, and very quickly destroyed lung tissue and created a lot of scarring and fibrosis. So and we saw a whole different, a whole different population dying with that one. The first one was people with comorbidities, people who are overweight and things like that. And the second one was just middle aged men, a lot of them that were passing away. So we did see quite a few deaths. […] I was in ICU, of course. So people don't come to the ICU unless they're very, very sick. So I don't know what the percentages were like. But we saw more deaths during COVID. than .. than I'd seen in the 10 years prior to that all put together. But in any case, the...  the way it was handled in ... and the way ... the reason people were leaving, like ... like Mary said, management was a big piece of that people are leaving. And then as the nursing shortages got worse and worse based on the ...  there was a lot of deaths with it. I don't know what that was in comparison to the numbers of infected people. […] Then we saw with what the last round of COVID ...

Tessa Lena: 

Which was when?

Owen Robinson:

... people weren't actually sick.... Omicron.. So with Omicron, people were not coming into the hospital sick with respiratory issues. They were coming in with other things. We were like, stubbed their toe, you know, broke their arm, and then every single patient that came in was being swabbed for COVID. If you came positive for COVID, you're being admitted to the hospital, you are being given remdesivir. […] So and then that created a huge bottleneck we had for COVID ...  who had no COVID or very light COVID symptoms, and really didn't need to be treated for COVID. And so then the people who are actually sick, it was much more difficult to get in the hospitals at that point, and then the staffing issues on top of it.

Tessa Lena:

So would it be then accurate to say that there were more shortages of patient beds and more overwhelm the hospital during Omicron when people were just sent to the hospital ... I mean ... sent to the ICU because they tested positive?

Owen Robinson:

Yeah, I would say that there was it was much worse during that time, for us, at least. In Texas, I don't know what the rest of the world looked like. But at that point, you know, they were mandating the vaccines, we had people leaving. And then we had these bottlenecks in the hospitals where we couldn't get the patients out until they finished this course whether they needed it or not. It's  you know, not, not my not my place to diagnose. But in any case, they didn't have respiratory illness symptoms. And were being treated  anyway.

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