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"Intent to Harm"

An extraordinary story of prosecutorial abuse in the Texas Observer (h/t N.M.): nurses reported a quack doctor to the Texas Medical Board after hospital administration refused to take action; the sheriff, a business partner of the doctor in his sales of quack medicine, had the nurses arrested on trumped-up felony charges, and even put one of them through a trial (though at least she was acquitted within an hour). There's a quasi-happy ending: the nurses got a sizable settlement from the county, and a state special prosecutor has indicted the sheriff, county attorney, doctor, and hospital administrator for their role in the shameful affair.

The unhappy news is that the Texas Medical Board only slapped Dr. Rolando Arafiles on the wrist with a $5000 fine—less than they fined another doctor for yelling at a staff member. The costs of medical malpractice reform are higher if the medical community is not adequately policing their own. While civil litigation is rarely effective in doing anything about incompetent doctors (competent doctors are sued just about as often, and the litigation system is sufficiently inaccurate that there is no evidence that it provides any deterrent value), the political demand for it will be higher when trial lawyers can point to the case of a Dr. Arafiles.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.