Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dr. Arafiles Arrested

Winkler Post photo.
From the Odessa American:
KERMIT The ongoing saga of the whistle-blowing Winkler County nurses took a turn for the karmic Tuesday with the arrest of Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles on charges of retaliation and misuse of official information. Both are third-degree felonies.

(Ironically, one of these charges is the same as what the Kermit nurses were originally charged with. - DK)

Agents with the Texas Attorney General's Office presented the arrest warrant to Arafiles in Odessa and he agreed to come with them to Winkler County where 109th District Judge James Rex magistrated him, office spokesman Thomas Kelley said. Arafiles left the Winkler County Jail on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond and had his passport revoked. (Arafiles is a native of the Philippines).

Arafiles' arrest results from the criminal investigation of nurses Anne Mitchell and Vicki Galle.

They were fired from Winkler County Memorial Hospital and were indicted and arrested by local authorities in 2009 in connection with misuse of official information after they sent an anonymous letter to the Texas Medical Board with examples of 10 patients they believed Arafiles had not properly treated.

Arafiles’ criminal charges come from the Texas Attorney General’s Office. In the arrest warrant affidavit, Arafiles is accused of giving patient information to Winkler County Sheriff Robert Roberts, Arafiles’ friend and also a patient, so that Roberts could investigate the source of the anonymous accusations against him. After determining the patients themselves hadn’t made the complaints, Roberts identified Galle and Mitchell as the whistleblowers, setting into motion all future events that brought national attention to the small community.

But prosecutors dismissed the case against Galle, and Mitchell was acquitted by jury in February. In August, the pair received $750,000 after Winkler County settled a federal civil suit against many of the officials involved.

The affidavit said Arafiles disclosed the information to Roberts to stop what he characterized as harassment against him, but that wouldn’t be considered a proper governmental purpose, especially against certified nurses with a duty to report harmful medical practices. The affidavit also said Arafiles’ inquiries should have been directed to the Texas Medical Board, not a local law-enforcement officer.

Hospital Board member John Walton said he thought the whole matter was through when the civil suit was settled, but the hospital continues to struggle after the resignation of administrator Stan Wiley in October and continues to need another doctor after one that came in left to work in Odessa.

“What it’s done is made people not trust the hospital,” Walton said.

(No kidding! - DK)

CLICK HERE to see CBS7's story on the arrest.  (He runs from the camera. - DK)

CLICK HERE to read the arrest affidavit.

CLICK HERE to read the Texas Medical Board's civil complaint against Arafiles.


Anonymous said...

A lot of the hospital staff seem to be blaming the nurses. If the hospital board had LISTENED to the nurses, people would still trust them. It's the board's fault, not the nurses.

Anonymous said...

Hey Arafiles...

No matter how much good you do, it can't erase your crimes. You're an adult, time to take your medicine.

If you can't see where you veered off course, then something is just broken. You bring shame on your family, your profession, and the people you work with. You had a chance to come clean and try to make amends. But like most cowards, you ran and hid like a rat.

For shame, sir.

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