Friday, February 12, 2010

Justice and Ethics Prevail in Texas Whistleblower Case

It only took the jury one hour and a single vote to to acquit nurse Anne Mitchell, against whom a vengeful sheriff and prosecutor had brought an absurd charge of "misuse of official information" for her having blown the whistle on a physician whose care she believed was dangerous. (See here for my post on the charges.)

The jury foreman, Harley D. Tyler, a high school custodian, not a civil rights activist, said that the jury simply saw "nothing wrong" in Ms. Mitchell's actions!

Ms. Mitchell's lawyer will now proceed with the countersuit against the sheriff, the prosecutor, the hospital administrator, and the physician in question. It's worth taking a look at the countersuit filing, which makes what I see as a slam dunk argument. I generally prefer negotiation to litigation, but the attack on a whistleblower is so eggregious that teaching a good solid "lesson" would seem to be a good outcome. Whistleblowing can be abused, but it's a crucial piece of an ethical health care system, and needs to be protected.

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