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.


Veronica Waks MD, ND said...

Is there anything that could be done? The system is corrupted.
His license could be lifted if "standards of practice" are seems that they were, but if he has friends in"high places"?...

Anonymous said...

I hope he loses his license, and this false, crazy felon is removed and cleared from these nurses, that is horrible.

KM said...

Since the article said he had only been at that hospital a couple of years, I wonder why or what happened for him to leave his last hospital and office of practicing medicine?

Lee Tilson said...

Despite the fact that these statutes and regulations protect the actions by the nurse, the prosecution continues.

45 CFR 164.512(d).
Texas Administrative Code 217.19
Section 301.4025
Section 242.133
Section 160.012
Section 554.0

The silence of organized medicine on this case - with the exception of the nursing associations - sends a dangerous message to all nurses.

"If you expose bad doctors, even very bad doctors who have been sanctioned by state medical boards, you will be alone.

"Even though this is the right thing for you to do, and it is what we say you should do, you are alone.

I sincerely hope that organized medicine will prove me wrong. Please.

Lee Tilson

Karen said...

I'd like to exclaim "unbelievable!" but I know, sadly, that it is very believable. A shame.

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

The conclusion:

Anonymous said...

@murmur55 says:

Bad physicians and bad practices happen everywhere without correction.

In the Boston area, if you are a good licker of other doctors, especially psychopathic or otherwise personality disordered doctors, you will eventually end up on the "Best Doctors" list. One of the recent award winners has a significant borderline personality disorder and a history of lying to at least 5 other doctors about their contracts. He was in league with another "Best Doctor" who has Asperger's and malignant narcissism. Together they destroyed 3 female doctors careers, two of whom were advocating for women's rights and patient care. This occurred while they worked relentlessly in the worst interest of patients and staff because it ensured access to contracts, grants, promotions and chairmanships of national medical organizations. Another "Best Doctor", a sadistic psychopath, once engaged in witnessed indecent A&B of all of his female patients. If the "Best Doctors" list doesn't pan out, there is always the option of having a building named after oneself after all enemies have been purged from the state. Having connections with the State Police is always helpful as well as a final buffer against "Best Doctors" crimes.

The rankings of "Best Hospitals" and "Best Medical Schools" are similarly compromised as no one is allowed access to real information. One "Best Hospital" at the top of the list has links to a rapist MD and the above mentioned criminal guilty of serial A&Bs. The media has successfully driven quality data underground by focusing the spotlight on individual cases and those "Best Manipulator" lists.

Only by constantly challenging the system, as these nurses did, will powerful political connections give way to more ethical practice of medicine.

M C said...

Oh my gosh.. He's Filipino! Shame, shame, shame! :(

Anonymous said...

Someone I'd like to report...