A Texas nurse who was charged with a crime for filing an anonymous complaint accusing a doctor of unethical conduct was acquitted by a jury yesterday, reports the Associated Press. Watchdog groups had said the case could have a chilling effect on health care workers and patients. Prosecutors said personal – not professional – reasons motivated nurse Anne Mitchell to file the complaint against Dr. Rolando Arafiles with the Texas Medical Board. She was indicted for “misuse of official information” after Arafiles filed a harassment complaint with the Winkler County Sheriff’s Department.
Mitchell said her complaint “had nothing to do with personal feelings,” and she would continue to report doctors if she believes they are not giving patients proper care. Nursing associations and health care watchdogs rallied around Mitchell, calling the case is a key test of physician accountability. Alex Winslow of the patient safety advocacy group Texas Watch, said the acquittal doesn’t end the concern.