View Full Forums : Whistle blowers face jail time in Texas

02-08-2010, 01:14 PM
Nurse to Stand Trial for Reporting Doctor (
It occurred to Anne Mitchell as she was writing the letter that she might lose her job, which is why she chose not to sign it. But it was beyond her conception that she would be indicted and threatened with 10 years in prison for doing what she knew a nurse must: inform state regulators that a doctor at her rural hospital was practicing bad medicine.
Mrs. Mitchell counters that as an administrative nurse, she had a professional obligation to protect patients from what she saw as a pattern of improper prescribing and surgical procedures — including a failed skin graft that Dr. Arafiles performed in the emergency room, without surgical privileges. He also sutured a rubber tip to a patient’s crushed finger for protection, an unconventional remedy that was later flagged as inappropriate by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
When the medical board notified Dr. Arafiles of the anonymous complaint, he protested to his friend, the Winkler County sheriff, that he was being harassed. The sheriff, an admiring patient who credits the doctor with saving him after a heart attack, obtained a search warrant to seize the two nurses’ work computers and found the letter.
Several Texas laws would seem to enshrine a nurse’s right, and perhaps duty, to report a physician when he or she believes that patients are at risk. Lawyers on both sides agree that the case will hinge on whether a jury believes that Mrs. Mitchell reported in good faith. In civil whistle-blower cases, the Supreme Court of Texas has held that good faith requires only a reasonable belief that the conduct being reported is illegal.

02-12-2010, 05:23 PM

Remind me never to work in Texas.

But in all of that story. I read it once. And then skimmed it again. "and the prosecutor, Scott M. Tidwell, express confidence in their case. "

Mari E. Robinson, executive director of the Texas Medical Board, has warned in a blistering letter to prosecutors that the case will have “a significant chilling effect” on the reporting of malpractice.

That is the Board of Medicine saying this. That is the doctors board.

Not the Board of Nursing.

The organization responsible for licensing doctors...

Something stinks with this story.

That Scott M. Tidwell better be start lookin fer a new job soon.

02-12-2010, 05:28 PM
Well today in the news the jury deliberated an hour and threw the case out. The nurse is not guilty. Now she is suing the hospital that fired her, the sheriff/county and the doctor. Hope she wins!

Nurse Whistle-Blower Not Guilty for Reporting Doctor (

Mitchell and Galle, who both now live in New Mexico, have fired back with a civil lawsuit against the county, hospital, sheriff, doctor and prosecutor, accusing them of vindictive prosecution and denial of the nurses' First Amendment rights.

According to the Texas Occupations Code, "a nurse may report a licensed health care practitioner, agency , or facility that the nurse has reasonable cause to believe has exposed a patient to substantial risk of harm as a result of failing to provide patient care."

Mitchell alleged that Arafiles had improperly prescribed herbal medicines he sold on the side and performed unauthorized surgical procedures.

02-12-2010, 08:18 PM
Until the lawyers can be sued, the system will always be absurd.

Of course it was thrown out. The prosecutor should be disbarred. And be relegated to cleaning stalls at WalMart for the rest of his life.