White Coat Underground

Texas nurse acquitted!

Good news out of Texas. Anne Mitchell, the nurse who filed an anonymous complaint about a doctor with the Texas Medical Board, was acquitted of felony charges.

Mitchell brought her concerns about Dr. Rolando Arifiles to her hospital administration, and when she got nowhere, she felt forced to bring her patient safety concerns to the state medical board. The local sheriff, a friend and possibly business partner of Arifiles, used is investigative super-powers to figure out who filed the anonymous complaint, and had her indicted for misusing state information (the medical record numbers of the patients).

The jury took about an hour to acquit Mitchell. Give the damage to her career, hopefully her civil suit against the gangsters who misused their offices to harass her will succeed.

Comments

  1. #1 Frink
    February 11, 2010

    Awesome. Score one for the good guys!

  2. #2 Harry Palms
    February 11, 2010

    It’s amazing how liberals will stand up for such a cause as this but refuse to stand up for our men and women in uniform fighting in a war to save this nation. How about aquitting the Navy SEALs who were busted for doing their job? I wish those SEALs would use their training against their prosecuting lawyers and the Islamofascists whom they are protecting.

  3. #3 MonkeyPox
    February 11, 2010

    Would you like some dressing with your word salad?

  4. #4 Harry Palms
    February 11, 2010

    No thanks. I am a meat eater. Got A1? Also, I wish those Navy SEALs would pull a Rambo and escape custody and kick the Islamofascists lawyers’ ass. Otherwise, I’m good.

  5. #5 MonkeyPox
    February 11, 2010

    Your non sequiturs have no power over me, harry man.

  6. #6 Katie
    February 11, 2010

    Yeah, Lord knows real ‘Murricans don’t eat no vegetables. It’ll turn you into a commienazi fascist! God.

    Your current rageahol has nothing whatsoever to do with this subject, and this subject has nothing to do with liberalism. Also, you’re making a jackass out of yourself. So, in conclusion, STFU.

    Back on topic, there is indeed a civil suit, yes? The legality of the actions of the sheriff in particular seems extremely dubious.

  7. #7 Mu
    February 11, 2010

    While this is great news, the civil suit has a huge hurdle to overcome in the form of immunity for official action for the sheriff and DA. And with a nice circular argument for it, the DA can claim “I got the case from the sheriff, I had to prosecute”, and the sheriff will say “the DA saw it justified, he pressed charges”. The hospital administrator will hide behind “they came with a warrant, I had to turn over the evidence”, and the doctor wasn’t acting in any official capacity in this and can claim “I mentioned it to the sheriff, he told me it was illegal and I just cooperated with the investigation”.

  8. #8 Arnold T Pants
    February 11, 2010

    1. A1 is only for people who are incapable of properly cooking a steak. This is the only food I will toss to the troll.

    2. The sheriff certainly seems to have acted on massive conflicts of interest, having been involved in selling the quack remedies. I however doubt that there is any way for him to be called to account for this until the next election.

  9. #9 Frink
    February 11, 2010

    Amazing how we get from a nurse’s acquittal after being a victim of corruption… to “them thar damn lib’ruls.” I’m relatively convinced someday soon “don’t drink the kool-aid” will become “don’t drink the tea.”

  10. #10 daedalus2u
    February 12, 2010

    But the Texas Medical Board told the sheriff it was a legitimate use of patient data before he even started his investigation.

  11. #11 BobC
    February 12, 2010

    Harry,
    Why are you biased against the military?

  12. #12 Brian X
    February 12, 2010

    Arnold, #8:

    I wouldn’t put A-1 on a steak per se, but a little drizzle of it on a cheeseless steak bomb is pretty damn nice. (Your mileage may vary if you add cheese.)

    Although if you go to thefump.com and look up a track called “A Song About A Train” by Rob Balder, you might get a little different perspective on it. The FuMP is usually about comedy music, but this particular song is a rather more serious tune about advertising and manufactured consent. And steak sauce.

  13. #13 DT35
    February 12, 2010

    Mu is correct that most officials have governmental immunity from suit in cases claiming negligence in the exercise of their official powers. However, the nurses have filed in federal court, alleging intentional civil rights abuses, not negligence. Violating someone’s civil rights is even worse if you use the power of government to do it, so I doubt the defendants escape unscathed just by pointing fingers at other participants.

  14. #14 Pommer
    February 12, 2010

    From the article:
    But one physicians group, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, warned that anonymously disparaging a doctor and possibly depriving him of a livelihood ”on the basis of false, bad-faith allegations” needs to stop.

    ”Accountability for false complaints is long overdue,” said Dr. Jane Orient, the association’s executive director said in a statement.

    Ever heard of that org PalMD?

  15. #15 Chris
    February 12, 2010

    See an article PalMD wrote while on the Denialism blog:
    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2008/05/denialist_awardandrew_schlafly.php

  16. #16 Nomad
    February 13, 2010

    Holy crap, the Assfly is behind American Physicians and Surgeons?

    Typical poor journalism. In attempt to “show both sides” they end up going with a crank association in order to find someone to speak in favor of the doctor.

    I dunno.. maybe it would have been useful if they had found some reason to believe that the complaints were false before giving some lunatic mouthpiece a quote alleging just that.

  17. #17 Ray C.
    February 13, 2010

    It’s amazing how liberals will stand up for such a cause as this but refuse to stand up for our men and women in uniform fighting in a war to save this nation.

    In other news, 35 years after the fall of Saigon, the Viet Cong still has not landed in San Francisco.

  18. #18 Chris
    February 13, 2010

    Nomad:

    Holy crap, the Assfly is behind American Physicians and Surgeons?

    Does this surprise you? When I first joined the Healthfraud listserve about ten years ago Jane Orient was on it. The problem was she was posting many many emails that were not quite on topic (spamming?), and was removed. This is not the behavior of a normal person.

  19. #19 Nomad
    February 13, 2010

    Just in case I wasn’t clear, in saying Assfly I meant Schlafly. But yes, it does surprise me. I know Schlafly as being a raving lunatic who thinks he’s a conservative. I know him as being responsible for conservapedia, famous for having its articles on homosexuality as the most popularly accessed pages. I know him for the Lenski stunt where he tried to get Richard Lenski to send him copies of his bacteria despite not having the proper facilities to store them, not to mention demanding copies of all his other information, in order that he and his homeschool student minions could pore over them to show how evolution really hadn’t occurred.

    But I wouldn’t have figured him as starting a quack medical group, unless it was specifically intended to promote women staying in the home and pregnant, plus providing plenty of “the gay is the bad” scientifical sounding fiction.

    I can only guess that he may have started it but he may not be leading it. This just doesn’t sound like his style. The only way I can possibly imagine him having an interest in this case if it was to slap down those uppity women for daring to question their male superiors.

    I’m a little disturbed, too.. As head of conservapedia all he did was provide something for people to point and laugh at. But forming an official sounding group that tries to portray itself as a representative of doctors is a bit scarier, I’ve seen the way his mind works and I’m not keen on the idea of anyone thinking that anything he says is meant to represent doctors in general.

  20. #20 PalMD
    February 13, 2010

    Oh, the assfly didn’t start the group, he is their “legal counsel”.

    If you look at the article on AAPS on CP, the comment page, and the one on rationalwiki….well…

  21. #21 Arnold T Pants
    February 13, 2010

    Orac has a pretty good takedown of AAPS here. It’s basically an organization that mixes far right wing conservatism with quackery. They want doctors to be able to do whatever it is they want with no oversight. Oh yeah, except for performing abortions. Their libertarianarchy stops short of reproductive choice.

    Brian X #12,

    That seems like a very good use for A-1.

  22. #22 Chris
    February 13, 2010

    Nomad, I believe Jane Orient is a founder. Not only did I get to see her go batty on the Healthfraud listserv a decade ago, I also managed to debate Andy’s brother on the Usenet. He was an anti-vaxer who would never answer straight answers.

  23. #23 Nomad
    February 13, 2010

    Okay, okay, so I misread the referenced article. I see that it does in fact describe him as being legal council.

    Which speaks poorly of their judgment. I’ve seen what goes on on conservapedia, I’ve seen the sort of sloppy way he pulls out his own inventions of the law when it suits his needs and then deletes all references to it when he’s found to be ludicrously wrong.

  24. #24 PalMD
    February 13, 2010

    From the other thread, a reader found that Schlafly represented Arafiles in his NY case. I’m going to blog it, but i wonder if AAPS was behind him, or just Schlafly.

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