Monday, February 8, 2010
Report a Doctor and Go to Jail
Two nurses in Texas reported a physician to the Texas Medical Board for unethical and unsafe behavior toward patients. They directed the Medical Board to six cases where Dr. Rolando Arafiles should be investigated for improper prescribing and surgical procedures. In one case he performed a failed skin graft without surgical privileges. He also sutured a rubber tip to a patient's crushed finger for protection. This was so unconventional that it was flagged as inappropriate by the Texas Dept of State Health Services. The nurses believed the hospital administration (and presumably the medical staff too) were not properly monitoring him so they made their anonymous report to the Medical Board.
It seems Dr. Arafiles has friends in high places. His friend is the Winkler County sheriff and he used his power to find out who the nurses were and Dr. Arafiles has filed suit against them for "misuse of official information," a third-degree felony in Texas. The 2nd nurse was dismissed from the case. Both nurses have worked a combined 47 years at Winkler County Memorial Hospital and had excellent reputations.
The same cannot be said of Dr. Arafiles who was also selling herbal supplements to patients. He had been sanctioned in the past for improprieties in writing prescriptions and performing surgery. He had a restriction on his license from when he ran a weight-loss clinic.
This case stinks to high heavens. We have finally reached a time when patient safety is paramount and turning a blind eye to bad medical practice is not tolerated. The body that accredits hospitals wants the Medical Staff to perform ongoing physician assessment to make sure doctors are well trained and behaving properly.
Physicians have due process laws that protect them. Sometimes they are even over-protected and it is almost impossible to get a doctor thrown off the medical staff. It would appear Texas goes even further and punishes the nurses who report in good faith. This is pretty outrageous and will set back patient protection if it goes through.
To see Dr. Rolando Ariafiles in his full glory, go here.
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