Nurses traveled from across the country to protest Friday outside the courtroom where a former Tennessee nurse was scheduled to be sentenced for causing the death of a patient.
RaDonda Vaught was convicted in March of criminally negligent homicide and gross negligence of a disabled adult after she accidentally administered the wrong medication. She faces up to eight years in prison, although such a long sentence is unlikely given that she has committed no prior crimes. A filing report rated her risk of recidivism as “low.”
Vaught’s conviction has become a rallying point for many nurses already fed up with poor working conditions exacerbated by the pandemic. Some have left GP nursing for administrative positions, while others have left the profession altogether, saying the risk of going to prison for a mistake has made nursing intolerable.
The sentence comes a day after International Nurses Day, and some nurses were driving from a march for better working conditions in Washington DC on Thursday to the sentence in Nashville. The nurses plan to meet two hours before the scheduled start of the sentencing hearing in the morning.
“Everyone I talk to is furious,” said Janie Harvey Garner, a nurse who founded the advocacy group Show Me Your Stethoscope and helped raise funds for Vaught’s defense. “She shouldn’t have been able to practice nursing again. She should have been disciplined by the (nursing) board, but jail?
Harvey, who was driving from Georgia for the planned protest, said it was “scary” to think she could be prosecuted for a mistake and predicted that nurses will start trying to cover up their mistakes instead of reporting them. Vaught reported her mistake as soon as she realized her mistake.
Vaught, 38, injected Charlene Murphey, 75, with the paralyzing drug vecuronium instead of the sedative Versed on Dec. 26, 2017. Vaught openly admitted to several mistakes, but her defense attorney argued that systemic problems in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center were at least partly to blame.
At the nurse’s trial, an expert witness for the state argued that Vaught violated the standard of care expected of nurses. In addition to taking the wrong medication, she didn’t read the name of the medication, didn’t notice a red warning on the top of the medication and didn’t stay with the patient to see if she had an adverse reaction, nurse practitioner Donna Jones said. saying.
Leanna Craft, a nurse educator at the neurological intensive care unit where Vaught worked, testified that it was common for nurses at the time to override the system to obtain medication. The hospital had recently upgraded an electronic records system, which caused delays in retrieving medications. There was also no scanner in the imaging area for Vaught to scan the drug against the patient’s ID bracelet.
The jury found Vaught not guilty of reckless homicide. Criminally negligent homicide was a misdemeanor included in the original charge.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.