Aftermath-Texas Nurse Whistleblower Trial
2/12/2010While former Winkler Co. Nurse Anne Mitchell has been found “not-guilty”, she’s unsure whether she’ll ever return to nursing.
Alvin Wolff Jr.
Alvin Wolff Jr.
It’s one of many loose ends resulting from the Winkler County Nurse Case.
Following months of accusations, charges and turmoil, Anne Mitchell is now a free woman, after a jury found her not guilty of felony charges. But now, Mitchell and fellow whistleblower Vicki Galle, face another challenge: finding employment.
"The closest place for us to work, other than Kermit, is about 50 miles away", says Mitchell.
The nurses may try to recoup lost wages and other damages in a civil trial, where Doctor Rolando Arafiles, Winkler County Attorney Scott Tidwell, District Attorney Mike Fostel, Hospital Administrator Stan Wiley and Sheriff Robert Roberts are named as defendants.
"There are a lot of things that are going to be discussed in that case. First and foremost, I believe we're going to take the deposition of the D.A. who didn't have the guts to show up here and even try this case", says Galle’s Attorney, Brian Carney.
Carney calls these future defendants conspirators, in bringing charges against the nurses for doing something that was legal and their duty.
"All these individuals are going to have to answer for why they have conducted themselves the way they have and accused these two innocent people of what's going on", says Carney.
Mitchell's attorney, John Cook IV, explained the ramifications of today's verdict.
"If we do not allow our medical professionals to voice concern about sub-standard care, people will die", says Cook.
Doctor Rolando Arafiles, who's made several documented, life-threatening mistakes with his patients, is still being investigated by the Texas Medical Board.
In the meantime, after details of sub-standard care emerged during testimony, Doctor Arafiles is still seeing patients at Winkler County Memorial Hospital. That’s something that worried nurses Vicki Galle and Anne Mitchell last April, when they wrote to the Texas Medical Board and it’s something that scares attorney, John Cook, today.
"There's an active investigation ongoing into his practices. I trust that the Texas Medical Board will thoroughly investigate this and will do the right thing”.
Mr. Cook, Carney, and both nurses, wanted to make clear that while they called some of Winkler County Memorial’s practitioners into question, they respect the practice of all others at the hospital. A date for the civil trial has not been set.
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