You may have heard about the whistleblower case in Texas where 2 nurses reported a physician (Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles, Jr.) to the State Medical Board for unethical medical practices. Even though the American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics requires nurses to report physicians who may be of harm to patients, these two were punished for doing the right thing. (Apparently, the local sheriff was a friend of Dr. Arafiles’ and took it upon himself to charge the nurses with misuse of official information, a third-degree felony in Texas, because patient medical record numbers were included in the letter to the Texas Medical Board). The criminal prosecution charges were dropped against Vicki Galle, but the case against Anne Mitchell is ongoing.
But the real story – what was Dr. Arafiles doing that was so egregious? – has yet to be made public by the nurses. And thanks to bloggers Mike Dunford, and Orac over at ScienceBlogs.com, the truth is being revealed. Video footage of Dr. Arafiles’ bizarre medical beliefs and practices are available here. Apparently, he prescribed colloidal silver to treat H1N1 flu, promoted the false idea that vaccines contain a wild array of toxins (everything from MSG to fetal tissue), and was diagnosing patients with “Morgellons disease” which he describes as a parasitic infection that produces fibers that turn host cells into plastic.
I don’t know what specific harm has befallen patients under Dr. Arafiles’ care, but based on the videos where he describes his pseudoscientific beliefs, and the fact that two brave nurses had the guts to report him to the Texas Medical Board – I’d say there’s a lot more to this story.
Stay strong for science and patient safety, Anne Mitchell, RN. You are doing the right thing. And for those who’d like to contribute to the Texas Nurses Association Legal Defense Fund, your donation will go to defend Anne from criminal charges.