Dr. Arafiles’ Alternative Legal and Medical Treatments
February 24, 2010 in Medical Ethics
Two hospital based nurses in a small west Texas town were recently charged with “misuse of official information” after they accessed the records of patients of Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles Jr. in order to report what they felt was inappropriate medical treatment by Dr. Arafiles including the prescribing of an herbal supplement that the doctor sold. Though complaints to the Texas Medical Board are supposed to be anonymous, the identity of the person or persons making the complaint is often easily deducible from the nature and details provided within the complaint. Dr. Arafiles was able to correctly determine who reported him to the board. He filed a criminal complaint and a law enforcement search of the nurse’s computer reveled a copy of the complaint letter.
Texas law does provide some protections from civil litigation for whistle blowers but – obviously – none for criminal charges.
Though, I have yet to hear of a case where the Texas Medical Board voluntarily turned over the identity of a complainant who has made a flagrantly false and malicious accusation with the intent to cause harm to the named physician.
Dr. Arafiles’ response to being reported to the Texas Medical Board was certainly a unique alternative (and lucky in many aspects) to the usual options of hiring a lawyer who specializes in defending doctors from the Board at an initial cost of $10 to $50,000 or the “wait and pray” method. His approach is apparently consistent with the unique ways he practices medicine including treatments for Morgellon’s Disease (a disorder that has thus far not even been proven to exist) with Colloidal Silver, a silver containing gel for the treatment of H1N1 influenza (that he sells), and oxygenated olive oil for . . . I have no idea what this could possibly treat.
Though Dr. Arafiles reportedly surrendered his medical license in New York state and was fined $1,000 by the Texas Medical Board in 2007 for failing to properly supervise mid-level providers, he probably currently has little to fear from the Board for prescribing the very herbs and silver gels that he sells or once suturing a rubber tip to a patient’s finger. That is, he has little to fear from a board that is much more concerned about sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll i.e. coming down hard over things like legal and consensual sexual activity between doctor and patient, than it is about the potential dangers of alternative and unproven “treatments”.