Report a bad doctor to the authorities, go to jail? The cranks weigh in

Well, well, well, well.

I should have know that sooner or later a certain group would weigh in on the trial of Anne Mitchell, RN, whose malicious prosecution is a result of a doctor who peddles woo using his connection with Boss Hogg Winkler County Sheriff Robert L. Roberts to find out who had complained against him and prosecute her criminally, trying to throw her in jail for up to ten years for doing her duty and reporting this doctor’s questionable activities. Before I reveal what crank group has weighed in, given that its identity will not come as much, if any, of a surprise, let’s just say that I’ve been a bit surprised by the reaction to some of my posts on Facebook. Suffice it to say that there has been some pushback from a couple of doctors who decided to use my criticism of this case as an excuse to start ranting about nurses supposedly reporting doctors for frivolous reasons. I realize that sham peer review can be a problem, but the bile thrown out at the nurses and the seeming solidarity with a woo-meister like Dr. Arafiles actually shocked me. One even started engaging in anti-science-based medicine rants, claiming that it’s a tool to control doctors and even likening it to Holocaust denial. I kid you not.

In any case, not surprisingly, that crank organization of medical crank organizations, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has weighed in on the side of Dr. Arafiles in a fascinating exercise in crankitude called Is There Accountability for Malice?

The stupid, it burns.

Check it out:

It has been open season for false allegations against physicians for too long. Each year too many physicians are distracted or even destroyed by malicious claims about them, whether in malpractice cases, sham peer review by hospitals or health plans, or witch-hunts by medical boards.

Is nurse Anne Mitchell guilty of acting in bad faith? The jury will decide.

Note the juxtaposition of complaints against false allegations against physicians with the disingenuous statement that “the jury will decide.” While that’s literally true (the jury will decide), it’s very clear where the AAPS stands on this issue, and it’s not with the whistleblowers:

The blogosphere is filled with rants against the doctor, Rolando G. Arafiles, Jr., M.D.; the prosecutor; and West Texas itself. The doctor has dark skin, a foreign accent, and some unconventional ideas. But his ideas and his practice are not on trial. The question before the court is whether the nurse, not the doctor, acted wrongfully.

This is an example of some spectacularly Orwellian misdirection. First off, the attacks in the blogosphere are against more than just Dr. Arafiles. They’re against the Winkler County Sheriff who went to great lengths to hunt down the two whistle blowing nurses. It’s about an idiot of a prosecutor who decided to prosecute them. It’s about payback against the nurse. In fact, it’s about exactly the opposite of what AAPS thinks it’s about. (Big surprise there.) Black is white and up is down in the delusional world of the AAPS. Yes, the nurse is on trial, but the important point is that the reason the nurse is on trial is because of the doctor and his relationship with the County Sheriff. Indeed, testimony shows that Dr. Arafiles and the Sheriff were not just friends who played golf together but that they were in business together hawking supplements:

During his cross-examination, Dr. Arafiles discussed the nutritional supplement called “Zrii” that he recommended to patients. The doctor admitted that Sheriff Roberts sold Zrii and even held meetings at the local Pizza Hut to recruit others to sell the product. According to the defense, the main ingredient in Zrii is white grape juice and it sells for around $40 a bottle.

Nurse Anne Mitchell mentioned the sale of non-approved/sanctioned supplements in her original complaint to the TMB.

It’s also spectacularly hypocritical of the AAPS to cry racism over this issue because Dr. Arafiles is Filipino when it has a history of some truly despicable and racist anti-immigrant rhetoric.

As for Dr. Arafiles “unconventional ideas,” well, it’s far more than just that, as I documented yesterday. Indeed, Mike Dunford documented more of Dr. Arafiles’ love of woo, including intravenous hydrogen peroxide and that quackery of quackeries homeopathy.

Yet, what does the AAPS conclude? This:

The broader question is whether doctors or other Americans can be disparaged, subjected at a minimum to tens of thousands of dollars in defense costs, and even deprived of their livelihood, on the basis of false, bad-faith allegations–while the complainant hides behind anonymity, immunity, and a presumption that she is only trying to protect the public.

“Accountability for false complaints is long overdue,” said Jane Orient, M.D., Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

Truly, up is down and down is up. Leave it to the AAPS to come to exactly the wrong conclusion. Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. As I documented before, the AAPS seems to believe that doctors are super men and super women, that they can do no wrong, that they should be given in essence complete freedom to do as they will.

That, of course, is the problem. No one should be immune from accountability, not even doctors. Not even Dr. Arafiles. Sadly, apparently a fair number of doctors don’t agree. Just look at the comments after the AAPS post if you don’t believe me.