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A primer on Michael Fontana, a nurse accused of killing three patients

Michael FontanaLast week military reporter Scott Huddleston and I covered the story of Capt. Michael Fontana, a nurse who has been charged by the Air Force of killing three patients at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio.

This is Military City, USA, and there’s lots of interest in the case and concern about it. Here are links to official sources, and stories by the San Antonio Express-News and other media:

  • The Air Force issued a press release announcing the charges against Fontana. At this point, this is the only document about the case that has been released by the military.

  • This is our first story about the patient deaths and the charges against Fontana. “As far as we can tell, he’s been an exemplary nurse,” said Dave Smith, public affairs chief for the Air Education and Training Command at Randolph AFB.

  • This story by the Austin American-Statesman detailed the case and disclosed Fontana’s past job as a paramedic in Austin, where he didn’t generate any complaints.

  • Our follow-up story identified one of the likely patients who had been treated by Fontana. Her name was Dorothy Gray, a 74-year-old stroke victim from Natalia, Texas. According to an autopsy report, Gray died from “intoxication” of morphine, a painkiller, and lorazepam, a sleep-aid, which caused complications to Gray’s health and led to her death.

    The story was based on an autopsy report and an investigation report by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office. Gray’s death was ruled a homicide.

    Gray’s family declined to be interviewed. Her obituary described her as a charming woman who wasn’t originally from Texas, but who often said she got here as fast as she could.

  • A story by WOAI followed up our article by interviewing residents in Natalia who knew Dorothy Gray.

  • A story by the Austin American-Statesman delved deeper into Fontana’s work history and found numerous commendations for his past efforts to save his patients.
  • I’ll post more links in the coming weeks. Feel free to contact me if you have information about the case.

    3 thoughts on “A primer on Michael Fontana, a nurse accused of killing three patients

    1. Dude, why don’t you just say Fontana’s guilty? Maybe go buy some rope…. You so-called journalists are so completely biased, it’s a wonder anyone gets a fair trial in this country. I realize justice doesn’t really get news, though…and that’s why ‘lamestream’ media is disappearing from this country. Good riddance.

      I know one of the defense attorneys very well. You guys are so far from the truth, you wouldn’t know it if it hit you in the face. Pay attention to the testimony of the other doctors and nurses on duty, Columbo…!

    2. James, where are you seeing bias against Fontana? The stories said he was considered a good paramedic in Austin who worked hard to save lives, and his colleagues there were surprised by the charges. Our very first story quoted the Air Force saying he was an “exemplary nurse.” If the media were out to get him, would you be reading that information?

    3. Thanks for your response John! You and Scott did an amazing job covering the story when the accusations were fresh, but kinda weak on the outcome of NOT GUILTY.  The testimony was enlightening from lying (incompetent) nurses and (falsifying documents) doctors on the stand to the powerful testimony from a palliative care physician who agreed with the dignified death all the patients received.  Thanks again.

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