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Case against one Texas nurse is dropped


By Gregg Blesch
Posted: February 3, 2010 - 2:45 pm ET
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At the request of the prosecutor, a Texas judge dropped the case against one of two nurses scheduled to stand trial next week on charges that they misused government information by reporting concerns about a physician (Print subscription required.) to the Texas Medical Board.

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The nurses, Vickilyn Galle and Anne Mitchell, worked for Winkler County Memorial Hospital, a county-owned hospital in Kermit, Texas, and were indicted after a sheriff's investigation determined they were the source of an anonymous complaint to the medical board. County Attorney Scott Tidwell argues that the complaint was made in “bad faith” to carry out a personal vendetta against the doctor.

Tidwell filed a motion to dismiss the case against Galle, but the trial is on track to proceed with Mitchell as the lone defendant. The nurses, meanwhile, have filed a civil lawsuit in federal court alleging that their rights to free speech and due process, as well as various whistle-blower protections, were violated by the doctor, the hospital, the sheriff and prosecutors.

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