Sheriff found guilty of retaliating against nurse whistleblowers

Ending the ongoing saga of the Texas whistleblower case, Winkler County Sheriff Robert L. Roberts Jr. on Tuesday was found guilty of retaliation and faces up to 10 years in prison, according to The Associated Press.

The case has made headlines across the country since 2009 when two nurses, Anne Mitchell and Vickilyn Galle of Winkler County Memorial Hospital, sent an anonymous ethics complaint about physician Rolando Arafiles Jr. to the Texas Medical Board, accusing him of dangerous practices and using hospital supplies for at-home procedures, notes the AP.

Dr. Arafiles was a friend of Sheriff Roberts who identified the nurses as the ones who sent the letter. Both nurses lost their jobs and were indicted. One nurse was acquitted, and charges were dropped against the other.

After two hours of deliberation, jurors in Midland found Roberts guilty of two counts each of felonies of retaliation and misuse of official information and two counts of one misdemeanor charge of official oppression, according to the AP.

In what seems like a victory for nurses and whistleblowers everywhere, this case highlights the need for complaint and anti-retaliation processes at institutions to ensure that staff members can approach leadership with possible problems and correct them before having to go to the medical boards.

To learn more:
- check out The Associated Press article

Related Articles:
Whistleblowers earn big with new SEC rule
Dartmouth-Hitchcock settles false claims charges
California insurance commissioner joins Sutter Health whistleblower suit