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Trial of Winkler County Nurse who reported Doctor to Texas Medical Board-Part 1

Posted Feb 10 2010 11:50am 1 Comment

The trial began on February 82010 with jury selection.  Prior to the trialone of the two nursesVicki Galle,  originally indicted was dismissed from the case.  Anne Mitchell’s trial involves felony charges for mis-using privatepatient files to harass the County hospital’s doctor.  On February 92010testimony began in the trial.   The IT person testified and then Dr. Arafiles testified. The allegations of his poor care were discussed and Dr. Arafiles actually testified that he did not think there was a difference in the way diabetic patients healed compared to non-diabetics.  It was also pointed out that the Sheriff is a friend of Dr. Arafiles and a business associate as well.  For news articles see: CBS7 and the New York Times.
Personal take:  The fact that these nurses were ever charged with anything is not justice.  The actions taken by the Sheriff and the DA reek of “good ol’ boy” tactics.  This case should be thrown out and the “officials” involved investigated for misuse of official power.  The “system” only works if all involved believe in it–that it is fair and that the people in power have no personal agendas for their actions and are acting based on the best for the public.  For a Sheriff and DA to go after whistle blowers is an affront to their job of protecting the public.

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The nursing associations supported these nurses. What did the rest of the medical community say? Nothing. Silence. 

Not only was the medical community in Texas silent, so were the medical communities in Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, San Francisco, Tuscon, Boise, Minneapolis and St. Louis. I ask that anyone who is aware of any groups of physicians or hospitals that supported the nurses to advise me. I have found none. 
The response from the medical community has been nothing. Nothing.  
What did the medical community do to stop this bad doctor? Nothing.
What did the medical community do to protect his patients? Nothing.
What did the medical community do about this situation? Nothing.  

It is perhaps fitting that the American Federation of Teachers spoke out in support of the nurses after the jury came back with an acquittal. Maybe we can learn a lesson from teachers. 
Throughout this ordeal, the medical community, with the exception of the nurses, sat on the sidelines. The doctors and their organizations sat on the sidelines, doing nothing. The hospitals and hospital association sat on the sidelines, doing nothing. Nurses and their professional associations stepped up to the plate.  Everyone else did nothing. 
Might it be that by doing nothing to stop malpractice and bad medicine, the medical community created this circumstance in the first place? What is the responsibility of the medical community to police its own? 
We know that the medical community objects to the tort system. Would the tort system even be addressing the malpractice issues if the medical community took responsibility for doing its job? 
In the upcoming weeks, we will continue to hear much criticism about the tort system from the medical community. Why couldn't there have been any comments from the medical community supporting these nurses?
Lee Tilson 
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