A nurse in Texas is currently in legal hot water after she submitted a report about Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles Jr.’s questionable medical practices.
The nurse, Anne Mitchell, reported her concerns about Dr. Arafiles’ surgical and prescription methods including an incident when the doctor allegedly sewed a rubber tip onto a patient’s finger for “protection”. Dr. Arafiles was also said to have a side business of selling herbal supplements.
Although the Texas Department of State Health Services ruled that said procedure was improper, shortly after that the nurse found herself arrested and fingerprinted on charges of “misuse of official information” filed by the local county sheriff.
Dr. Arafiles complained to the sheriff about Mitchell’s report – and incidentally, the sheriff Robert L. Roberts Jr. was a patient of open heart surgery. The charge against Mitchell is a third-degree felony which may carry up to a sentence of 10 years.
Various federal statutes and whistleblower laws protect employees from any adverse action or retaliation that an employer may commit against an employee who complains or reports about discrimination or any illegal act committed by the employer.
Generally, an employee is considered to be retaliated against if there is:
• Demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, negative evaluation, change in job assignment, or change in shift assignment
• Hostile behavior, attitude or harassment against the employee who complained
• Unwarranted criminal prosecutions and unjustified government investigations to intimidate or punish the employee who complained
The laws on employment retaliation and whistleblowing is varied, which is why at this point, hiring an employment attorney or an expert civil rights lawyer is required especially when complaints filed against an errant employee or even a doctor guilty of malpractice result to criminal or civil charges against the employee who complained.