Congratulations to Anne Mitchel, the Texas nurse who was charged with “misuse of official information” after she wrote a confidential letter to the Texas Medical Board complaining about a doctor’s unsafe medical practices. Today, on the fourth day of her trial in Andrew, Texas, the jury found the veteran nurse “not guilty”
As reported here yesterday, there has been outrage in the legal community that Mitchell was charged with “misuse of official information,” a third-degree felony in Texas under an abuse-of-power statute.
Mitchell and fellow nurse Vicki Galle, (prosecutors dropped the charges against Galle), have responded with a civil lawsuit against the county, hospital, sheriff, doctor and prosecutor, accusing them of vindictive prosecution and denial of the nurses’ First Amendment rights. If convicted, this would clearly have had a chilling effect on a nurses ability to report physician misconduct and keep patients safe. This a victory for justice in America.
According to the Texas Occupations Code,
“a nurse may report a licensed health care practitioner, agency , or facility that the nurse has reasonable cause to believe has exposed a patient to substantial risk of harm as a result of failing to provide patient care.”