Nurse whistleblowers cleared of charges

March 19, 2010

Two Texas nurses were cleared of criminal charges for using patient information to file a complaint against a family physician.

Two Texas nurses in February were cleared of criminal charges for using patient information to file a complaint against a family physician, according to the Texas Nurses Association.

Anne Mitchell, RN, and Vicki Galle, RN, told the Texas Medical Board last year that a physician in their county hospital e-mailed patients recommending they buy herbal medications, which he sold.

Mitchell faced a third-degree felony for "misuse of official information." Prosecutors alleged the anonymous complaint included protected patient information. The defense argued that complaints by government employees to a state agency with healthcare oversight can include patient information.