County Jail Down Three Nurses - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

County Jail Down Three Nurses

The Wichita County Jail is down three nurses, all were fired, two of which are charged with felony offenses.

The nurses could spend years behind bars, but they say they did nothing wrong and were only doing what they thought was right.

The nurses involved feel what has been done has been done out of retaliation, but the Sheriff's Office says otherwise.

"Very passionate about our jobs, liked our jobs, loved our jobs, lived at our jobs," said Tessa Martinez, nurse fired from county jail.

Martinez and former co-worker Cheryl Ware are without a job, both veteran nurses of the county jail who treated inmates and enjoyed doing so.

"It was extremely important for us to care for them, to get them cared for, to get them seen in some kind of way," said Ware.

Instead of caring for others the two are working to bandage their wounds after they were fired earlier this month by the agency that manages the jail nurses, Correctional Healthcare Management.

The incident happened on February 4, when a nurse working at the downtown facility saw another nurse perform a procedure on a female inmate that they believe was illegal.  They say it should have been managed by someone of higher authority.  The nurse then contacted Tessa Martinez who then contacted Ware who was told to make copies of the medical procedure.

"It went further than that, someone initiated a criminal investigation and determined that Ware and Martinez should be charged with a criminal offense," said Rick Bunch, attorney representing the women.

The offense--tampering with government documents.

"Those were government records and they were photocopied and removed from the jail," said Deputy Chief Derek Meador.

Meador says things would have been different had the nurses first contacted the agency CHM and not taken matters into their own hands.

"I know both of those women and I like both of those women and I think they made an unfortunate decision," he said.

A decision that has cost them what they enjoy doing more than anything in the world, caring for others.

The nurse who witnessed the procedure has not been charged with anything, only fired and it is believed because she violated HIPPA laws by speaking about it.

If the two women are prosecuted they can face up to 10 years behind bars.  Wichita County  Chief Deputy Meador says documents of the procedure were found at the home of Ms. Martinez.

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