Friday, February 12, 2010

Nurse who faced 10 years in jail for reporting doctor acquitted

If a nurse feels that a physician is performing surgeries badly or prescribing drugs improperly, the nurse has an obligation to report on the doctor's practices.

But authorities in Texas don't see it that way.

When a nurse at Winkler County Hospital made a report with the state medical board about what she felt were improper practices by a doctor there, authorities went after the nurse with the serrated pages of their thickest law books.

It turned out the sheriff was a patient of that doctor, and he obtained a search warrant to confiscate the nurse's computer. Prosecutors accused the nurse of making an "inflammatory" statement to ruin the doctor's reputation, and they sought a 10-year prison term.

Thankfully, however, a jury acquitted the nurse yesterday, finding her not guilty of the charge.

Not only does this acquittal completely kablammo what was obviously a malicious prosecution. This acquittal also maintains the safeguard for those who blow the whistle against bad medical practices.


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