I am an attorney and I represent the former Nurse Supervisor at the McLennan County Jail [Waco] who reported the grossly inadequate medical assistance at the Jail and after six months of trying to get change to happen, was fired due to her reporting the problem. A lawsuit is pending against the County on her behalf. Anyone with information AND willing to be public about retaliation for reporting poor medical conditions at the McLennan County Jail from October 2006- March 2007 can contact me. Please be aware that since this is a lawsuit, your response cannot be kept confidential, and I may or may not be able to respond.UPDATE: The whistleblower plaintiff was allegedly terminated for testifying to the Texas Legislature about McLennan jail health problems!
Brenda H. Collier firstname.lastname@example.org
I emailed Ms. Collier to ask for a copy of the plaintiff's original complaint to get more information about the lawsuit. Take a look at it here, and a couple of other documents related to the case. According to the plaintiff, Charlice Woodruff:
Woodruff reported, among other things, the failure by the County Jail to have appropriate medical staff to care for inmates, for failing to properly dispense and dispose of drugs, and the failure by the jail to follow doctors’ orders. Woodruff reported that these matters placed the health of the inmates at risk, violated law, and in some specific instances placed the lives of specific inmates in jeopardy. Woodruff also reported that certain narcotic drugs were missing and requested an investigation be conducted. ...Juicy stuff - these allegations represent much more than just evidence from insiders about poor jail health conditions. They tell us that some Sheriffs will allegedly use pretty darn draconian tactics to keep themselves from being held account for preventable jail deaths. Legislators need to have a talk with her former bosses - they need to make sure government employees feel free to report abusive practices to the Legislature and discourage coverups to avoid more TYC-like catastrophes.
She learned that these conditions had been ongoing prior to her arrival at the County and that prisoners were routinely not provided medication and medical services and such information was being covered up by the County. Prior to March 1, 2007 Woodruff prepared a memo detailing some of the issues that she had reported previously and presented it to the County Attorney, Michael Dixon. Dixon told Woodruff that he wouldn’t want to see a copy of the memo in the County files due to a pending potential wrongful death claim where an inmate had died at the County jail after allegedly receiving insufficient and improper medical care. ...
Woodruff had scheduled some time off to attend a legislative session in Austin, Texas to work on, among other things, protections for nurses who report unsafe medical conditions. Woodruff returned from that trip on March 6, 2007.
When Woodruff attempted to return to work on March 6, 2007 immediately following her visit to the legislators proposing additional protection for nurse whistleblowers, Woodruff was met at the jail/workplace by Captain Mynar, and was barred from entering the workplace. At that time Mynar informed Woodruff that she was placed on “administrative leave”.
While on “administrative leave” and without notice to Woodruff, Woodruff’s job was offered to another nurse employed outside the County. The employees of the medical services at the County Jail were instructed to have NO CONTACT with Woodruff, or face disciplinary action. Woodruff was left to twist in the wind.
Woodruff requested a meeting with the Sheriff’s Office, which was held on March 21, 2007. At that meeting Woodruff filed her formal grievance with the County. A copy of the grievance is attached to this Amended Petition as Exhibit 2. At the conclusion of the meeting the County denied Woodruff’s grievance. Woodruff filed this lawsuit March 23, 2007.
Woodruff was then notified that her job was terminated by the County effective March 29, 2007, less than 30 days after presenting the Woodruff memo to the County. At the same time as Woodruff was fired, at least two other nurses employed by the County Jail were fired, and the approximate 27 year contract with the Doctor (Dr. Rodney Ryan), who had provided medical services for prisoners at the McLennan County Jail was terminated on one day’s notice to Dr. Ryan.
One of Woodruff's big concerns about in-jail healthcare in McLennan county are practices that make it more likely inmates could suffer preventable but pontentially fatal staph infections when receiving in-jail health care, a problem that's surfaced in many larger jails around the state. Bully for Woodruff for speaking out and bringing the issue to light via litigation.
Read the linked documents for more, and I'll try to provide updates as the case moves forward.