The Winkler County Nurse Trial, An Alleged Massive Conflict of Interest, and Morgellons

As some of you might know, there is a very scary criminal case currently underway out in West Texas. A registered nurse named Anne Mitchell is currently standing trial. She's been charged with misuse of official information, which is a felony carrying a 10-year maximum sentence. She allegedly committed this crime by sending a complaint to the State Medical Board, because she was concerned about what she believed to be a pattern of sub-standard care and ethics on the part of Dr. Rolando Arafiles, a physician at the hospital where she worked.

Dr. Arafiles, according to the complaint filed by Mitchell and a colleague, engaged in a wide range of questionable activities. Even though he did not have surgical privileges at the hospital, he performed a skin graft in the emergency room. (The graft failed.) He sutured a rubber cap to a patients crushed finger to help protect it (yes, that's about as nutty as it sounds). He also repeatedly attempted to get patients to purchase - from him - various herbal remedies.

If you want to see the good Doctor at his questionable best, I just found (via a comment at another blog) some YouTube clips of an appearance that he did for something called "God's Learning Channel", which appears to be some kind of local access program. In this program, Arafiles is discussing Morgellon's - a condition which most physicians believe is nothing more than delusional parasitosis. Dr. Arafiles does not seem to share their view:

If you're actually interested in seeing more, parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the interview are also available on YouTube, but I won't subject you to further embedding.

Now, after all that, you might be trying to figure out how reporting this quack to the proper authorities could be any sort of crime, you're not alone. Both the Texas Nursing Association and the American Nurses Association have been strongly supportive of Mitchell, and the Texas Medical Board has strongly objected to the prosecution, pointing out just how much of a chilling effect this case could have on any other nurse who wants to report a dangerous doctor.

It might just be the result of the local Sheriff being good friends with, and a former patient of, the doctor, and being willing to bend and break the rules to protect his good buddy's reputation. Or, there might just be a bit more to it.

The nurses have filed a civil suit (currently on hold pending the outcome of the criminal case). While looking through the pdf of their complaint, I came across this very interesting allegation:

30. Defendant ARAFILES was Defendant ROBERTS physician and Defendant ROBERTS and Defendant ARAFILES were business partners in the herbal supplement business.

Defendant Arafiles is, obviously, the quack. Defendant Roberts is the sheriff.

Now, the allegation is unproven, but if it's true it shouldn't be all that hard to prove. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it comes up when the sheriff takes the stand in the criminal case. Unfortunately, the criminal case isn't being followed all that closely by the media, but hopefully we'll learn more soon.

This case seems to be turning into a true quackery trifecta - we've got mythical diseases, untested and unproven cures, and a doctor who has managed to get criminal charges filed against nurses he claims were persecuting him. If it wasn't really happening, it would almost be entertaining.

But it is happening. And it's scary. Nurses are an enormously important link in our healthcare system, and we need to have them watching out for us. If they're scared to take concerns with physicians to the appropriate authorities, we're all in danger.

If you can, please kick a little bit of money toward the defense fund that the Texas Nursing Association has set up to help with this case.


After posting the article, I did a bit more digging around on Dr. Arafiles. I've made a few more interesting discoveries:

  • A quick look at one of the book reviews he posted on Amazon suggests that he might have some anti-vaccine tendencies.
  • A look at a page on what looks to be his website also seems to suggest anti-vax links.
  • It looks like the Sheriff's connection to the Arafiles' herbal business is absolutely real. I found a description of a court hearing earlier in the case where the Sheriff apparently admitted that he had "sold/distributed" the supplements.
  • Arafiles Linkedin profile lists him as the owner of "Health to Fit". This matches a website that appears across the screen in the YouTube videos above. The website's contact information gives a Kermit, Texas address, all of which strongly suggests that the site is Arafiles'.
  • The site mentioned above is a veritable cornucopia of woo, and peddles a variety of non-FDA approved products.
  • In 99.9% unrelated news, Arafiles apparently took a speeding ticket to trial, lost, appealed, and lost. The order denying his appeal is a revealing read.
  • The Texas Nursing Association is Tweeting the trial.
  • According to one of the TNA Tweets, in testimony today Arafiles said that diabetics heal as well as anyone.

It really, really, REALLY looks like the wrong person is on trial.


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A new Retro virus X.M.R.V., has been found in the blood of over 90% of persons with Chronic Fatigue/Fibro. Remember everone dismissed them as Delusional too?

X.M.R.V. has been found to have an association to certain CANCERâS.

My sister was recently diagnosed with Pancreas Cancer after fighting the Emergent Disease Morgellons . The course of this disease appears to be following that of a slow A.I.D.S. Parasites and infections often accompany this disease. Many in our community have passed on from Cancer.

Schistosoma is a parasite that is reliant on itâs host for enzymes. A common belief is that you canât get Schistosoma here in the United States . The fact is this deadly parasite is known to inhabit the Great Lakes Region.

The C.D.C. has concluded the research into the causal agent of Morgellons. They are sharing the results with other agencyâs.. They have been extremely slow to release the results , saying they must first identify theâStakeholdersâ.

My sister has the highest price to pay ,




Jennifer Miracle

By Jennifer Miracle (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink


This video is astounding - a case of Greed Gone Wrong! If the good doc got patients' email addresses at the hospital to peddle his herbal supplements, HE should be prosecuted for Misuse of Government Information & the SHERIFF should be prosecuted for Abuse of Power.

The population of fools grows exponentially it seems. What disturbs me is that 2 attorneys indicted & are prosecuting the nurses! Their federal civil rights case goes to trial right after the criminal trial. All of which is paid for by Texas taxpayers... not the doctor or sheriff!

By Moms Hugs (not verified) on 09 Feb 2010 #permalink

Hooray for the nurses. I am proud to be in the same profession as the nurses involved. I am glad that somebody is finally taking a stand against this physician. I did have the misfortune of having worked with that physician and always found his practice of un-orthodox origin. Luckily I did not have to witness the treatment that he provided in Winkler County. I am glad that we have administrative nurses who do pay attention to this. It does provide me with the comfort that the patients are ultimately safer because of this. Also a big agreement with the Texas Medical Board for putting the Winkler County Sheriff and DA on notice. The residents of Winkler County need to reflect on their public official and the good ole boys club that obviously exists in that part of the world. There is obviously a reason why that physician could not get privileges at hospitals in his hometown of Victoria and why he needed to move through numerous small South Texas Hospitals. Winkler County Hospital administration is so typical of many small town hospitals, delusional and physician focused. I urge everyone on here to read how the physician got hired, that they had violated their own bylaws and made amends and even knew ahead of time about the lack of his standards of care. Shame on the administration, law enforcement and the DA's office.I hope everything will work out for the nurses and that justice will prevail.

I think the Sheriff has shot himself in the foot with this one and I'm sure when it comes to court he and the Doctor will be exposed as the desperate charlatans they are.

Interestingly enough, after checking online to find out more about who the players are, I noticed something peculiar while on the Winkler County Sheriff's Office website. The Sheriff is Robert Roberts and the Administrative Assistant is Bonnie Roberts.....hmmmm any relation? May be the spouse? The Chief Deputy is George Keely and the Nurse at the jail is Darla Keely....hhmmmmm even more bizarre. Small town, everybody may be related. I wonder if this jail also houses federal inmates that the county gets paid for. Why do I feel that Dr. Arafiles might also be the physician that is contracted to provide medical care for the jail....just a wild guess. Anybody have any idea how to find that out....This really has the making of a Lifetime movie.


Is one of the symptoms of Morgellons Rampant Apostrophe Abuse?

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

This is so frightening. I've watched nurses save so many lives. They are so important.

By Christine (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Awesome. I stopped reading at the first incorrect use.

By Christine (not verified) on 10 Feb 2010 #permalink

Anne Mitchell must stay stong and know that so....many people are behind her.

Where are the doctors here to support a good nurse? Where are you??? Too afraid to go after one of your own? Except he is NOT one of you as there are so many....good doctors that should stand up for the nurses who make your life easier every day of your lives at the hospital so you can have a working practice. Please stand up for her as SHE/WE need you now.

Shame on the law in TX!!!

According to one of the TNA Tweets, in testimony today Arafiles said that diabetics heal as well as anyone.

How did this f*cking ignoramus ever pass his boards?

If the hospital administration isn't embarrassed by their support of Arafiles, they sure ought to be.

"It really, really, REALLY looks like the wrong person is on trial."

Yeah, what about the administration of this hospital, the medical board - you can't tell me they were clueless in all this. They should be on trial. "Patient Safety" are only words.

On another note - this is what tort reform has accomplished in Texas. Post 2003 tort reform, physicians are flocking to Texas - all the quacks like these now have a safe haven in Texas.

By Muted Texas RN (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Ann Mitchell was found not guilty. It took the jury about 45 minutes to come back with the verdict.

By Kermit Citizen (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Almost everyone in Tx is related by blood or marriage, and most are proud of it.
If you are from the next town away, then you are a fur-e-ner (or damm yankee), and not to be trusted.
Now don't get me wrong, I live in P.I., and get some of the best medical care in the world, but just like the US, you have to research to weed out the bad ones. This Dr. fit the description that the US Dept. of State thinks is a top quality Dr. And the State Dept. never gets anything wrong.
Good luck to the nurses, hope you take the sheriff to the cleaners along with the D.A..
Good day from sunny Philippines.

I just wanted to let the readers here know that I personally know how corrupt this Sheriff is--what he is doing here does not surprise me at all. The Chief Deputy is also extremely corrupt. Hopefully they will end up in federal prison some day.