Respectful Insolence

This being Christmas Eve and all, I hadn’t planned on blogging. However, sometimes things happen that demand a change in plans. Consequently, although I don’t plan on doing one of my usual logorrheic treatments of this issue, I do plan on mentioning something, because sometimes schadenfreude is a most excellent Christmas gift.

Remember Dr. Rolando Arafiles, Jr., a physician at Winkler County Memorial Hospital in Kermit, TX? He’s the doctor trying to foist a whole boatload of woo on his patients about whom two brave nurses, Vicki Galle, RN, and Anne Mitchell, RN, complained to the Texas Medical Board and as a result were facing jail time. What happened was that the local Sheriff, Robert Roberts, who, normally apparently Inspector Clouseau, somehow magically morphed into Sherlock Holmes to help his good buddy (and business partner selling supplements) Dr. Arafiles track down who had filed the anonymous complaint to the medical board against him. Roberts then got the county prosecutor to file charges against the nurses for “abuse of patient information.” Fortunately, charges were dropped against Galle and Mitchell was found not guilty by the jury in record time. Unfortunately, they both racked up large legal bills and, because of the good ol’ boy network in west Texas, became virtually unemployable, pariahs in the medical field.

Now, right before Christmas, Arafiles has been arrested on the very same charges his buddy Sheriff Roberts tried to use to silence the nurses:

Rolando Arafiles, Jr, MD, the Texas physician at the center of a notorious whistleblowing case, was arrested yesterday by officers of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and charged with 2 third-degree felonies: misuse of official information and retaliation against the 2 nurses who turned him in for subpar care.

Each charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Dr. Arafiles surrendered without resistance, and after appearing before a district court judge in Winkler County, Texas, he was released on a personal recognizance bond, according to authorities.

The charge of misuse of official information was the same one made against Anne Mitchell, RN, and Vickilyn Galle, RN, who once were coworkers with Dr. Arafiles at Winkler County Memorial Hospital in Kermit, Texas. In April 2009, the 2 nurses sent an anonymous letter along with patient records to the Texas Medical Board (TMB) alleging that Dr. Arafiles was practicing substandard medicine. At Dr. Arafiles’ urging, and with his help, Robert Roberts, the sheriff of Winkler County, managed to trace the letter back to the nurses, who were then charged with misuse of official information. In the process, the hospital fired Mitchell and Galle.

I love the smell of irony in the morning. It smells like…schadenfreude. What a fine Christmas present for supporters of science-based medicine!

Even better, the powers that be may not be finished:

Arafiles went before a judge Tuesday in Kermit and was issued “Personal Recognizance” bond, which is essentially a bond of “his word” that he will not leave the area. His passport was confiscated. Dr. Arafiles is a native of the Philippines.

Sheriff Robert Roberts told CBS 7 crews today that he believes he will be arrested next.

I certainly hope so. Roberts abused his authority in about as blatant a manner as I have ever seen, all to help a friend and crony silence a couple of uppity nurses trying to safeguard their patients.

More:

  1. Dr. Arafiles arrested – Winkler County
  2. Karma: West Texas Style
  3. Physician in Texas Whistleblower Case Faces Criminal Charges
  4. Winkler County Doctor Arrested – Sheriff Could be Next

Comments

  1. #1 Dianne
    December 24, 2010

    Unfortunately, they both racked up large legal bills and, because of the good ol’ boy network in west Texas, became virtually unemployable, pariahs in the medical field.

    Are they willing to leave the area? There’s a need for good nurses here in the northwest and few people here care what the good old boys in Texas think.

  2. #2 Avenel
    December 24, 2010

    Now let’s hope for a successful wrongful termination lawsuit against the hospital.

  3. #3 Dianne
    December 24, 2010

    Gah! Where is my brain today? I meant the northeast. They probably need nurses in the NW too, though. If that’s not far enough away, I hear Canada’s nice.

  4. #4 Scottynuke
    December 24, 2010

    Happy happy, Joy joy!!! A most excellent holiday gift, thanks for brightening my day, Orac! :-)

    I hope everyone (yes, even this blog’s gadflies) has a peaceful and happy holiday season!

  5. #5 mattand
    December 24, 2010

    Shame on me for forgetting about this case. However, Orac, thank you for posting this. The fact that the sheriff may be doing a perp walk next it as important as the bad doctor being arrested. Good news, indeed.

    Merry Xmas to all!!!

    PS: Orac, I got you some Christmas Windex for your plexiglass box, so your lights will glow brighter. Enjoy!

  6. #6 Bob
    December 24, 2010

    Merry Quacking Christmas, “Doctor” Arafiles! Don’t let the cell door hit you in the ass…

  7. #7 Old Rockin' Dave
    December 24, 2010

    I am really surprised at Dr. Arafiles for such an epic fail. Most Filipinos are as honest and trustworthy as you could wish for. However, when they turn to crime they do not lose their work ethic, and their cheats, conmen and swindlers are usually world-class, not such paragons of ineptitude as the he is. I hope he and the sheriff get the biggest, meanest, nastiest perverts in the prison as cellmates.

  8. #8 Lynda M O
    December 24, 2010

    Thanks for that picker-upper !~! Woo needs sunlight and sometimes handcuffs.

  9. #9 Science Mom
    December 24, 2010

    That is good news. I hope there is a nice, fat lawsuit by the nurses to follow up the doc’s and sheriff’s X-mas incarceration.

  10. #10 Lynda M O
    December 24, 2010

    Thanks for that picker-upper !~! Woo needs sunlight and sometimes handcuffs.

  11. #11 gerty-z
    December 24, 2010

    Fantastic news! Those nurses should be held up as examples of ethical behavior. I hope that this is the beginning of getting them back into the medical profession.

  12. #12 Dr Aust
    December 24, 2010

    That is real proper Schadenfreude in the true sense of the German word – which requires that the person (i) truly had it coming; and (ii) gets back pretty much exactly what they themselves handed out – bit like saying “hoist with your own petard” (is that an expression known in the US?).

    Another classic example of this kind of Schadenfreude is when a politician who repeatedly wraps themselves in morality and denounces drugs, adulterers etc etc is then found in flagrante in an airport bathroom stall with a gram of coke and a hooker.

    PS The Sherriff’s name gave me a laugh. Do you suppose he goes by “Bob Roberts” for short?

  13. #13 Rene Najera
    December 24, 2010

    Not to change the subject too much, but has anyone heard from that weirdo dude who wrote here and in other blogs that he would bring the vaccine manufacturers to their knees when he revealed (before the end of 2010) all the evidence his independent research (no doubt Google) had brought forth?

    Anyone know whom I’m talking about?

    At any rate, as a native Texan myself, and foreigner to most parts of the States, I really hope these two bozos get some Texas justice, Walker-style… Roundhouse kick to the teeth or some such.

    DISCLAIMER: In no way do I support violence toward these two, unless they have it coming.

  14. #14 Denice Walter
    December 24, 2010

    Since it *is* Christmas Eve and all ( and I do actually know a bit of German), perhaps I can lead a rousing chorus of the olde traditional carol : ” O Schadenfreude, O Schadenfreude….”. A Happy Christmas to all, Orac & Ms.O, commenters and readers, Christians and non-Christians alike.

    DW

  15. #15 Travis
    December 24, 2010

    I feel bad for the Robert Roberts, the CEO of the heart institute I work at once and a while. Having to share a name with a real putz who is deeply connected to this kind of quack must not be fun. I hope it does not taint searches for his name.

  16. #16 Art
    December 24, 2010

    Florida is quite short on nurses and RNs can, to some extent, write their own ticket. It’s a bit cold now but soon enough the beaches will be sunny and warm.

  17. #17 Daniel J. Andrews
    December 24, 2010

    Maybe the Sheriff can find a new calling more suited to his nature? Isn’t the Dread Pirate Roberts retiring soon?

  18. #18 Anthro
    December 24, 2010

    Thank you Santa ORAC for the present! I had to have a break from the wrapping, but didn’t really expect another post today from you. Well, dreams DO come true!

    ——-

    @#7 Ol Rockin’ Dave

    Don’t you think your comment is just a little bit sterotypical? He’s a bad guy–what’s it got to do with being Filipino? I know lots of Filipino people, none of whom are even close to being crooks/dirtbags. I seriously doubt that, overall, Filipino people produce more criminals than any other group.

  19. #19 Roadstergal
    December 24, 2010

    bit like saying “hoist with your own petard” (is that an expression known in the US?).

    Our education isn’t that lousy. :)

    “But I will delve one yard below their mines, and blow them at the moon.”

  20. #20 Militant Agnostic
    December 24, 2010

    Most Filipinos are as honest and trustworthy as you could wish for. However, when they turn to crime they do not lose their work ethic, and their cheats, conmen and swindlers are usually world-class, not such paragons of ineptitude as the he is.

    Are you thinking of Michael de Guzman, the Filipino Geologist who salted the cores int the Biggest Mining Fraud in History.

    It is nice to see Arafiles and the Sheriff get their comeuppance. Interesting how alties behave when they are cornered.

  21. #21 prn
    December 24, 2010

    West Texas heat and inbred, isolated small town craziness reminds me of a joke ending, “in Texas, hell is a local call”

    “Mr. Wiley, who said it was difficult to recruit physicians to remote West Texas, said he knew when he hired Dr. Arafiles that he had a restriction on his license….”

    No doctor often means no town. Some local officials may fear that they might have to settle for the none part.

  22. #22 Azkyroth
    December 24, 2010

    Don’t you think your comment is just a little bit sterotypical? He’s a bad guy–what’s it got to do with being Filipino? I know lots of Filipino people, none of whom are even close to being crooks/dirtbags. I seriously doubt that, overall, Filipino people produce more criminals than any other group.

    Did you READ the comment? He is indeed being stereotypical, but his thesis is that Filipinos tend to be hardworking, dedicated, and competent at their jobs – even the minority whose jobs are criminal.

  23. #23 Old Rockin' Dave
    December 24, 2010

    Azkyroth has it exactly right.
    My Philippine-born wife is one of the very top nurses in the world, and I can say this based on what she does and where she does it. Through her I am related to literally hundreds of Filipinos and I can say with confidence that none of them is a crook and some of them are in law enforcement.
    The Philippines probably turns out fewer criminals than many, if not most, nations, but it is my suspicion that they turn out more “successful” and competent criminals than most as well.

  24. #24 Andrew Glasgow
    December 24, 2010

    “hoist with your own petard” (is that an expression known in the US?).

    It is known, but a lot of people who use it don’t know what it refers to exactly. (A battlefield engineer being blown up by his own explosives — or as shakespeare used it as a pun, being lifted by one’s own flatulence.)

  25. #25 DLC
    December 25, 2010

    I’m glad to see the “good” Dr. get some comeuppance.
    And should a similar fate befall the Sheriff I would not be unhappy.

    And, Happy Holidays to all!

  26. #26 Clay
    December 25, 2010

    @ Rene Najera #13 – That weirdo dude you’re talking about called himself “Smarter Than You”, and he’s definitely missed his self-imposed deadline of late November. Maybe he should change his handle to “Slower Than Molasses”? ;-)

  27. #27 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    December 25, 2010

    I think “Smarter Than You” is having a hard time getting published. For some reason a raving manifesto written in crayon is not taken seriously.

  28. #28 Travis
    December 25, 2010

    Has anyone seen STY recently? On other blogs? I would love to see this amazing, rather late work.

  29. #29 Nancyinwi
    December 25, 2010

    According to the Texas Nurses Association Legal Defense Fund, the nurses settled out of court for $375,000 each, in August. IIRC, their legal defense costs were partly or mostly covered by donations and/or the Defense Fund. But I don’t know if they have found employment elsewhere yet. And what will happen to the prosecutor, who was also a crony of Arafiles?

  30. #30 Mojo
    December 25, 2010

    @Clay

    Maybe he should change his handle to “Slower Than Molasses”?

    Or maybe “Slower than Pitch“.

  31. #31 Rene Najera
    December 25, 2010

    Yeah, STY was the guy. Wonder what happened?

    Maybe his editor had to go and edit the manuscript to get rid of all the “they’re” instead of “their,” “you’re” instead of “your,” and vice-versa.

    Writing a manuscript in text-speak is not a good idea, either.

  32. #32 Autistic Lurker
    December 26, 2010

    I’m sincerely curious, who the hell is STY?

    A.L. (insanely busy, started a new business this tuesday and just starting to catch up since a few month…)

  33. #33 Chris
    December 26, 2010

    Autistic Lurker, STY is the one who posted this diatribe:

    I expect you to laugh at my words, but the funny thing is, I’m not joking. Something has been in the making since 2004 that is going to make many dead people roll over in their graves. It will be completed by about October/November 2010, but it may be a little bit after that when you all become very familiar with it. But once you do, you will all finally see where you went wrong, because you most certainly have, and even the worst of the worst of them, such as Paul Offit, will even finally acknowledge just how wrong he was once and for all.

  34. #34 Chris
    December 26, 2010

    I believe the most recent siting of STY was last month on LBRB. We are really waiting in anticipation!

  35. #35 Vicki
    December 26, 2010

    Dave–

    I trust you won’t take offense when I say that your wife’s professional skills aren’t primarily because she’s Filipino.

    That sort of stereotyping can be dangerous, even when it seems like praise: “Jews are so smart” easily becomes a recipe for mistrust, for example. Similarly, “most Filipinos are honest and the few who aren’t are skilled criminals” can easily become “don’t trust them, the criminals there are so clever, you’ll never catch them.”

  36. #36 Denice Walter
    December 26, 2010

    @ Chris : How thoughtful of you to present us with such a lovely gift – that entire thread- and on *Boxing* day yet! Seriously, I think that someone should compile a list of oppositional commenters @ RI, their MO’s, “ideas”, real-life status, etc. and no one is better qualified for that task than you are, young lady!**

    ** if my snark were in its usual second gear, I would have written- “young man!”- if you catch my drift.

  37. #37 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    December 26, 2010

    In honor of Orac, a happy clear Box-ing day of blinking lights to all.

  38. #38 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 26, 2010

    How about a countdown (countup?) to STY’s Day of Revelation?
    We could start it from Dec 1, or, to be really fair, New Year’s Day, 2011.

    Be prepared to use powers-of-ten notation.

  39. #39 Chris
    December 26, 2010

    Denice Walter: ;-)

  40. #40 Autistic Lurker
    December 26, 2010

    Chris @33: that comment did not ring a bell but your link to LBRB did bring some memories, STY does look pretty interesting (read: funny). does he / she has any predictions for 2012?

    A.L.

  41. #41 Chris
    December 26, 2010

    I don’t know, A.L., the last time he showed up was on LBRB. Last night I re-read that RI thread I posted from last March while in a turkey induced stupor, it still gave me the giggles.

  42. #42 Azkyroth
    December 26, 2010

    That is real proper Schadenfreude in the true sense of the German word – which requires that the person (i) truly had it coming; and (ii) gets back pretty much exactly what they themselves handed out – bit like saying “hoist with your own petard” (is that an expression known in the US?).

    So we can say that Rolando Arafiles and Robert Roberts are utterly petarded? ^.^

  43. #43 Azkyroth
    December 26, 2010

    @ Rene Najera #13 – That weirdo dude you’re talking about called himself “Smarter Than You”, and he’s definitely missed his self-imposed deadline of late November. Maybe he should change his handle to “Slower Than Molasses”? ;-)

    Or STAEBJB*

    (“Smarter Than A Ewe (But Just Barely)”)

  44. #44 Prometheus
    December 26, 2010

    Rene asks:

    “has anyone heard from that weirdo dude who wrote here and in other blogs that he would bring the vaccine manufacturers to their knees when he revealed (before the end of 2010) all the evidence his independent research (no doubt Google) had brought forth?”

    There have been so many “weirdo dudes” who have made the claim that their (or someone else’s) “soon-to-be-released” research, book, ‘blog article or crayon drawing would bring Big Pharma, “mainstream” medicine or some other focus of quack angst “to its knees”. It is almost a diagnostic feature of full-syndrome quackery to claim that some single research project or news article will utterly destroy centuries of scientific research in a single blow.

    What it seems to indicate is that the people claiming that some single work will, in one fell stroke, invalidate mounds of scientific research simply don’t understand how science works. General relativity didn’t invalidate Newtonian physics – it simply refined it. In the unlikely event that “SmarterThanYou” does provide “earth-shaking” new data (a slightly less likely occurance than winning the PowerBall lottery…without buying a ticket), it won’t invalidate previous observations. At most, it will provide a new interpretation of those observations.

    Prometheus

  45. #45 adelady
    December 26, 2010

    You’re right Prometheus.

    So many people seem to think that science is like a house of cards or a child’s stack of building blocks – just jiggle one corner of one component and the whole thing collapses.

    The proper analogy for science is the jigsaw puzzle, maybe one of those diabolical double-sided ones, but a jigsaw nevertheless. New or radical insights are the equivalent of your sister coming into the room, looking over your shoulder and saying “Shouldn’t that bit be in the sea, not the sky?”

    You may facepalm, groan and fuss and have to rearrange a few pieces, but the new insight helps you, it doesn’t destroy the picture.

  46. #46 David N. Brown
    December 29, 2010

    Something brewing on this vein: “Alties” (including the infamous Tim Bolen) have been celebrating a “victory” in a suit by the AAPS against the Texas Medical Board, in part for accepting anonymous complaints. Said “victory” consists of a successful appeal of a ruling that would have thrown the suit out of court. The Bolenator has been gibbering that the AAPS will be distributing copies of anonymous complaints to every doctor who has been a subject of one.

  47. #47 Chris
    January 15, 2011

    Sheriff Charged in Texas Whistle-Blowing Case:

    The sheriff, Robert L. Roberts Jr., and county attorney, Scott M. Tidwell, each face six counts, including misuse of official information and retaliation, which are third-degree felonies. Stan Wiley, the administrator of Winkler County Memorial Hospital, in the dusty West Texas town of Kermit, was indicted on two counts of retaliation.

  48. #48 LW
    January 15, 2011

    Thank you Chris!

  49. #49 Scott Simmons
    January 16, 2011

    Darn–you beat me to it, Chris! I saw that story today, and the first person I thought of was Orac. (Um–the first superintelligent computer I thought of … eh, whatever.)

    Lawmed is predicting that county district attorney Mike Fostel will be the next one in handcuffs over this.