Search Results for: Winkler County

More Winkler County Nurse news

Well, okay, one of these isn’t ‘news’, as it’s an article from March of this year, from the Texas Observer:

Four months after he started, Wiley hired Dr. Rolando Arafiles, a Filipino family-practice doctor he’d met at the hospital in Crane. Arafiles and his wife bought a house in Kermit. They threw themselves into the town’s social life. Arafiles played golf with the county sheriff. Wiley, who wanted his doctors to be part of the community, was thrilled—so much so that when the nurses started to question Arafiles’ treatment of patients, the administrator tried to quash their complaints. When Mitchell, Galle and Warren finally sent damning evidence to state regulators, Wiley and two of Winkler County’s leading citizens took decisive action: They launched an attack on the nurses.

It’s well written, and serves as the bulk of the material in a podcast from This American Life. You can play it from their page, and it features audio interviews of the Nurses. It’s good.

 

 

Former Winkler County Hospital Administrator Pleads Guilty, Must Serve Jail Time

From Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

ODESSA – Former Winkler County Memorial Hospital administrator Stan Wiley pleaded guilty today to abuse of official capacity. The defendant’s guilty plea stems from his decision to fire two nurses after they filed an anonymous complaint with the Texas Medical Board against one of the hospital’s physicians.
Visiting Judge Robert H. Moore III sentenced Wiley to 30 days in the Winkler County Jail for his improper conduct.

Today’s plea deal was reached after the defendant agreed to cooperate with the State’s prosecution of three remaining defendants in this case. The Texas Attorney General’s Office is handling the case as district attorney pro tem, as the Winkler County District Attorney recused himself from these proceedings.

Today’s guilty plea stems from the Office of the Attorney General’s investigation of official oppression, retaliatory conduct, and misuse of official information by four Winkler County officials: Wiley, Sheriff Robert Roberts, County Attorney Scott Tidwell, and former Winkler County Memorial Hospital physician Dr. Rolando Arafiles.

If the guy who made a deal gets 30 days, what is the Attorney General going to be looking for in those that go to trial?

I’ve written about the Winkler County nurses before, and I wonder if this gives them some solace. I doubt it.

Dr. Arafiles arrested – Winkler County

Jailed and bailed as the person who sent he the link says…

KERMIT The ongoing saga of the whistle-blowing Winkler County nurses took a turn for the karmic Tuesday with the arrest of Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles on charges of retaliation and misuse of official information. Both are third-degree felonies.

Arafiles left the Winkler County Jail on a personal recognizance bond and had his passport revoked, CBS 7 reported. (Arafiles is a native of the Philippines).

Arafiles arrest results from the criminal investigation of nurses Anne Mitchell and Vicki Galle.

They were fired from Winkler County Memorial Hospital and were indicted and arrested by local authorities in 2009 in connection with misuse of official information after they sent an anonymous letter to the Texas Medical Board with examples of 10 patients they believed Arafiles had not properly treated.

Arafiles’ criminal charges come from the Texas Attorney General’s Office. In the arrest warrant affidavit, Arafiles is accused of giving patient information to Winkler County Sheriff Robert Roberts, Arafiles’ friend and also a patient, so that Roberts could investigate the source of the anonymous accusations against him. After determining the patients themselves hadn’t made the complaints, Roberts identified Galle and Mitchell as the whistleblowers, setting into motion all future events that brought national attention to the small community.

via Winkler doctor arrested | arafiles, winkler, county – Local News – Odessa American Online.

I had hoped this wasn’t over.

More on the Kermit (Winkler County) Nurses

Two nurses in Kermit, Winkler County, Texas felt a Physician had done wrong, and did their duty (which is protected), under the law: they reported the doctor to the State Medical Board.

Then, things got bad, but not like any sane person would think. The nurses were eventually charged in Criminal Court for “Misuse of official information“, the flimsiest of pretexts to punish them for their whistleblowing, which the Texas Medical Board said was both good and correct.

This mattered not, and they were forced to go to trial to defend themselves from imprisonment; They were very quickly found not guilty, then came the civil suit, which catches us up for today’s addition to the story…

First, imagine keeping your job as Hospital Administrator after this kind of public derision. No, it doesn’t end as you’d expect:

Via CBS 7:

A week after it was posted at the Winkler County Courthouse that Winkler County Memorial Hospital Administrator, Stan Wiley, would announce his resignation, he changed his mind.

In what board member, John Walton, is calling “the shortest meeting in the board’s history”, Wiley did not resign.

The resignation was put before the board members as a motion.

John Walton seconded the motion to “accept Wiley’s resignation” but none of the other board members did so.

Wiley then acted as if this were a dramatic show of support and decided to not resign.

Quite the vote of confidence…

That was on August 10th, by the way, the same day, again from CBS 7:

After their original concerns about Dr. Rolando Arafiles were substantiated by a state fine levied against Winkler County Memorial Hospital and an official complaint lodged against the Dr., the “Winkler County Nurses” were “compensated” today for their damages.

The nurses will split a nearly $1,000,000 settlement but nurse Anne Mitchell says this case was never about any money.

Vickilyn Galle and Anne Mitchell believed their anonymous report to the state in 2008 would be just that: anonymous (as is prescribed by nurse reporting laws).

There’s no way they could have predicted that standing up for patients’ rights would get them arrested, then prosecuted, then vindicated and now, more than two years later, leave them hard pressed to find a nursing job.

The four Winkler County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon, to settle the civil suit filed against the county and numerous other defendants.

The move means they are agreeing to pay $750,000 dollars to nurses, Anne Mitchell and Vickilyn Galle.

The county only has to pay $150K, the rest is covered by a risk management pool, which appears to be how Texas Counties self-insure.

I’d like to have seen the trial on this. It’s not enough for two nurses who will have to move a long way to even possibly continue their careers, and the behavior of the Sheriff and Prosecutor in all this is bafflingly ugly.

The lesson? 1) Don’t live in Winkler County, their public decision-making seems atrocious on every level and 2) if you’re going to report someone anonymously, don’t do it from a County owned computer, lest it be ‘investigated’. (Feel free to add your lesson in the comments, but I’m not interested in getting sued, so let’s not libel anyone, shall we?).

HT to Glenn, my West Texas news connection.

More on the Winkler County Nurses

Beau BermanCBS 7 Newsbberman@cbs7.com

April 20, 2010

Kermit, Texas -Winkler County Memorial Hospital’s decision to fire two nurses in 2009 is going to cost them, in the form of a $15,850 fine assessed by the State Department of Health Services.

The nurses’ termination is listed as a violation in a state report obtained by CBS 7 News. Now, one board member is speaking out, claiming this fine could have been prevented.

via CBS 7 – Your Eye on West Texas.

I don’t have any clue as to what a usual state fine for such a ‘violation’, so I don’t know if this is a big or little number in those circumstances.

Read the article for the comments of one board member (who’s apparently swimming upstream on this board if he can’t get any seconds on his motions), it’s an interesting look inside hospital politics, small-town or not.

HT: reader Glen

Winkler County Nurse found Not Guilty

Former Winkler County Nurse Found “Not Guilty” 2/11/10

Elias Hernandez

CBS 7 News

February 11, 2010

12:20 PM

The verdict just in.

Former Winkler County nurse, Anne Mitchell, has been found “not guilty” for misusing confidential information.

via CBS 7 – Your Eye on West Texas.

A case that should never have been brought is now over.

Now, about that Civil suit…

Update: via the NYT:

A jury in West Texas took less than an hour Thursday to acquit a nurse who had been charged with a felony after anonymously complaining to the state medical board that a doctor at her hospital was practicing unsafe medicine. The prosecution had ignited deep concern among health care workers and advocates for whistle-blowers about the potential chilling effect of a conviction.

Less than an hour.

Update: more coverage of the acquittal:

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Modern Healthcare (requires free but annoying registration), LA Times

Updated and Bumped: CBS 7 – Your Eye on West Texas covering the Winkler County Nurse Trial

Welcome InstaPundit readers!

(links fixed @ 2225 Central; sorry).

If you’re new to this story, the backgrounder is here.

The trial of Anne Mitchell, RN for doing her duty (reporting bad patient care to the Texas Medical Board) started 3 days ago.  I cannot find CBS’s coverage (if there was any) of Day 1, but there is pretty good coverage of days 2 & 3.

Day 2

Day 3

Having read that (and being quite biased for the nurse in this case) so far all Ms. Mitchell has to worry about are her legal bills.  I suspect they’ll be covered by the settlement from her civil suit for malicious prosecution.

HT: Glen in West Texas

Update: ABC’s Good Morning America has a good report on this as well, with about a 3 minute video.

Report a bad doctor to the authorities, go to jail? It might really happen for Anne Mitchell, RN in Winkler County, Texas : Respectful Insolence

Report a bad doctor to the authorities, go to jail? It might really happen for Anne Mitchell, RN in Winkler County, Texas : Respectful Insolence.

He’s been on this from the beginning.  Good news: one of the nurses was dismissed; bad news, the other is on trial.

Atrocious.

My grandparents lived in Winkler County (Kermit), and are gone now.  I think they’re spinning in their graves over this.

Winkler sheriff trial to begin Monday | trial, winkler, moore – Odessa American Online

Remember the Winkler County Nurse scandal? I do.

So does the Texas States’ Attorney.

June 06, 2011 6:30 AM

ODESSA AMERICAN

UPDATE 1 p.m. The court has taken a break until 2 p.m. for lunch in the trial of Winkler Sheriff Robert Roberts on charges of misuse of official information and retaliation.

The Midland County courtroom was packed with about 80 potential jurors in a trial now expected to last at least a week. Even after moving the trial from Kermit, the question of impartiality looms in an ongoing whistle-blowing nurses saga that has gotten national attention after the investigation and attempted criminal prosecution of the two Winkler County nurses who reported a doctor at their hospital violated proper medical procedure.

The doctor, Rolando Arafiles, asked his friend Sheriff Roberts to investigate the nurses, who were arrested.

via Winkler sheriff trial to begin Monday | trial, winkler, moore – Odessa American Online.

I’ll be very interested to see the outcome of this.

HT: Glen in the Big O.

Top Winkler officials indicted | indicted, winkler, officials – Government – Odessa American Online

KERMIT Two Winkler County officials and the former hospital board administrator were indicted Thursday on charges related to the 2009-’10 case of the two whistle-blowing Winkler County nurses, according to  court documents obtained by CBS 7.

County Attorney Scott Tidwell and Sheriff Robert Roberts were indicted by a grand jury on two counts each of third-degree felony misuse of official information and retaliation, and two counts of official oppression, a class A misdemeanor.

Stan Wiley, who resigned from Winkler County Hospital in October, was indicted on two counts of retaliation.

The indictments, which come from the Texas attorney general’s office, result from the criminal investigation of nurses Anne Mitchell and Vicki Galle. They were fired from Winkler County Memorial Hospital and were indicted and arrested by local authorities in 2009 in connection with misuse of official information after sending a letter to state medical regulators. The letter outlined concerns including Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles’ supposed attempt to use hospital supplies for at-home procedures.

via Top Winkler officials indicted | indicted, winkler, officials – Government – Odessa American Online.

There’s some quote about ‘you can get a Grand Jury to indict a sandwich’ or somesuch, so while this isn’t a conviction it does bode well for some actual justice…

Physician in Whistle-Blower Case Charged by Texas Medical Board

July 15, 2010 — The Texas Medical Board (TMB) has charged a family physician at the center of a nationally publicized whistle-blower case involving 2 nurses with poor medical judgment, nontherapeutic prescribing, failure to maintain adequate records, overbilling, witness intimidation, and other violations.

via Physician in Whistle-Blower Case Charged by Texas Medical Board.

Some follow-up / karma from the Kermit / Winkler County Nursing prosecution.

Thanks to CardioNP!

Report a bad doctor to the authorities, go to jail? : Respectful Insolence

Report a bad doctor to the authorities, go to jail? : Respectful Insolence

I just found out via one of the mailing lists I’m on of a very disturbing case in Kermit, Texas. Two nurses who were dismayed and disturbed by a physician peddling all manner of herbal supplements reported him to the authorities. Now, they are facing jail:

That’s appalling.  Read the excellent post (Orac’s a truly gifted, and prolific blogger), that points out the Texas Medical Board has made it clear the nurses did nothing wrong.

Astonishingly bad.  I’d echo one of the commenters in Orac’s post that these two nurses may soon be the richest people in Winkler County.