Former Texas Official Sentenced for Retaliation Against Nurses
Monday, November 7, 2011
According to ABC News, Scott Tidwell, a former West Texas county attorney, will serve four months in jail and 10 years of probation for retaliating against two nurses.
The nurses filed an anonymous complaint to state medical regulators against a doctor who used herbal remedies and hospital supplies to perform at-home procedures. The doctor then ordered a friend, a county sheriff at the time, to investigate the complaint, which resulted in the nurses being fired from their jobs and charged with felonies.
Tidwell acted as the prosecutor in the trial against one of the nurses. She was acquitted, and the charges against the other nurse were dropped.
Tidwell is not the only player in this case who is suffering from involvement. The Texas Medical Board found that the doctor tried to intimidate the nurses and placed him on probation for four years. He has also been charged with aggravated perjury and two counts each of retaliation and misuse of official information.
Earlier this year, a law was passed that adds protection from retaliation for nurses who advocate for patients. This bill allows nurses to report unsafe care with immunity from criminal liability. Nurses and other health care professionals need this kind of legislation to allow them to fulfill their responsibilities to their patients.
Without legal protection, health care professionals cannot be assured that there won't be repercussions for acting on concerns. If our health care professionals are not protected, the care and safety of patients is compromised. For more information about legal matters involved in nursing, visit www.TheHealthLawFirm.com or read the Nursing Law Manual.
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