Update on the Winkler County Nurses: Maybe a Little Schadenfreude Isn’t So Bad After All

Some excellent news for the two Texas nurses maliciously charged and acquitted of misusing official information. Their persecutors, namely the sheriff, the prosecuting attorney and their former boss, have themselves been charged. How sweet it is:

Two Winkler County officials and the former hospital board administrator were indicted Thursday on charges related to the 2009-’10 case of the two whistle-blowing Winkler County nurses, according to  court documents obtained by CBS 7.

County Attorney Scott Tidwell and Sheriff Robert Roberts were indicted by a grand jury on two counts each of third-degree felony misuse of official information and retaliation, and two counts of official oppression, a class A misdemeanor.

Stan Wiley, who resigned from Winkler County Hospital in October, was indicted on two counts of retaliation.

Schadenfreude, the German phrase for taking pleasure or joy in the misery of others, usually describes a pretty miserable and petty concept. However, a small amount of gloating is entirely appropriate here. A better reason for joy, as Shawn Kennedy puts it on the AJN blog, Off the Charts:

Why is this so exciting and significant? The case outcome supports nurses who raise concerns about unsafe patient care and upholds the nurse’s right—duty, really—to advocate for patients. Hopefully, the nurses’ victory and the award from the civil suit will give pause to those who think they can intimidate nurses who are acting on good conscience and within legal and ethical boundaries.

Of course, nothing says vindication like the $750,000 in cold hard cash these nurses received in damages for their dismissal from the hospital and the prosecution. Good on them.

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  1. #1 by Beth Boynton, RN, MS on Tuesday 18 January 2011 - 1008

    When people have power and abuse it AND don’t get away with it, I think it is a score for goodness and doing the right thing. So maybe we all get a little hope from this?

    Beth Boynton, RN, MS
    Author Confident Voices: The Nurses’ Guide to Improving Communication & Creating Positive Workplaces

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