Looking forward to the future of journalism

Military hearing begins for Wilford Hall nurse Michael Fontana

Michael FontanaExpress-News Reporter Scott Huddleston is covering the Article 32 military hearing of Capt. Michael Fontana, a nurse at Wilford Hall who is accused of killing three civilian patients under his care.

I had helped Scott cover this story when Fontana was originally charged and we learned the Bexar County Medical Examiner had performed autopsies and toxicology tests on the patients Fontana was suspected of killing. But this hearing, which is similar to a grand jury proceeding, is the first time the public has been able to learn many of the specific details of the case.

To get more perspective on the hearing, which is supposed to conclude today, here are some stories from other media outlets:

  • The Austin American-Statesman;
  • WOAI;
  • And an Associated Press story posted on the Air Force Times.
  • UPDATE: Here’s Scott’s story about the second and final day of the military hearing:

    Michael Shiels said he left his patient for a 15-minute lunch break.

    When he returned, Silvestre Orosco, an 83-year-old World War II veteran, had stopped breathing and “was basically dead,” his devastated family members standing by helplessly.

    It wasn’t until more than two months later, when other suspicious deaths of terminally ill patients surfaced at Wilford Hall Medical Center, that Shiels, a civilian nurse, thought Capt. Michael Fontana might have been responsible for Orosco’s death on June 1, 2008.

    “I unfortunately didn’t think much of it at the time,” he testified in an Article 32 hearing that ended Thursday.