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Nurse Charged With Homicide

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Nurse Charged With Homicide

  1. 1. Should Radonda Vaught, the nurse who gave a lethal dose of Vecuronium to patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, be charged with reckless homicide?

    • She should not have been charged
      358
    • She deserved to be charged
      104

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After reading the article in the newspaper,  I believe she should definitely lose her liscense. She could not find what she needed so she just picked a med that had similar spelling.  I do have a quick question, why was that drug so easily accessible.  If it was a anaesthetic drug, should it not be kept separate. I have never worked in a hospital so I am not 100% clear on what's accessible to which department. 

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There is always more to a story than what you read in a newspaper. We don't know what experience and training this nurse had, what kind of pressure from supervisors was being put on her, what was going through her mind, or what happened in all the moments that led up to the most horrible moment of that day. If I knew all the details, I might agree she should lose her license. But I do no think she should be criminally charged because she did not intend to kill and was not being aware of the possibility that she might kill.

I just want to add that I have been in the paper before (in a good way), and there are SO MANY things the paper wrote that were just flat out wrong. In fact, one thing they wrote was the polar opposite of what I'd said to be true! So take the paper with a grain of salt.

Also remember that hindsight is 20/20. This could have been any of us on an unthinkably horrible day -- not certain details maybe, but certainly a patient dying from something we did or did not do. 

Edited by mtnNurse.

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32 minutes ago, mtnNurse. said:

There is always more to a story than what you read in a newspaper. We don't know what experience and training this nurse had, what kind of pressure from supervisors was being put on her, what was going through her mind, or what happened in all the moments that led up to the most horrible moment of that day. If I knew all the details, I might agree she should lose her license. But I do no think she should be criminally charged because she did not intend to kill and was not being aware of the possibility that she might kill.

I just want to add that I have been in the paper before (in a good way), and there are SO MANY things the paper wrote that were just flat out wrong. In fact, one thing they wrote was the polar opposite of what I'd said to be true! So take the paper with a grain of salt.

Also remember that hindsight is 20/20. This could have been any of us on an unthinkably horrible day -- not certain details maybe, but certainly a patient dying from something we did or did not do. 

Exactly- that is why I am ready to hang this nurse. 

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There is a CMS report that documents every single thing that happened. No need to rely on the media.

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11 hours ago, rural-rn-15 said:

If you read the report of the investigation (which was available online when this was in the news a while ago):

1) she admits she did not even look at the name of the medication on the vial. Zero checks. Zero. For what would have been a high-risk medication even if it was Versed.

2) She overrode the Pyxis and selected "the first drug that started with a V" from the list.

3) She administered the drug and then left right away. Again, even if the drug was Versed, you do not leave a patient alone and unmonitored after a dose. Patients sedated with IV Versed should have Q5 vitals and sedation checks.

This isn't just an oops that could happen to anyone and it just happened to have dire consequences this time. This is a failure to act as a prudent nurse. No matter what department you work in, no matter where you're floated, no matter what the medication even, it's our bound duty to double- and triple-check the med against an order. It's our duty to know the med we are giving and its side effects. I know it's terrifying and I know we are all seeing ourselves in her shoes but in my opinion, this is not an "all nurses are human" type of error. It's criminal negligence.

 

This is a good summary of her very blatant and negligent safety overrides which ultimately caused this death.

When I first heard about this, without knowing the details and thinking it was just a horrible but honest mistake, I couldn't agree with her being charged. However, after reading through all of the responses on here, reading all the articles, and even taking the time to read the 60+ page CMS report...I completely understand the charge. It is a shame and of course a horrible situation. 

By her own admission, she bypassed every single safety check that is ingrained in us from nursing school. She admitted she didn't even look at the vial she pulled out of the drawer - hell, even if what she was looking for was vec, she didn't even check to make sure it was vec! That could have easily been a tylenol override that accidentally had oxycodone in the tylenol drawer that she blindly pulled out. Point being that regardless of what she thought it was versus what was ordered, there was the potential for error based on her practice and in this situation it just happened to be a deadly one.

There is no doubt that the system failed both her and the patient. But that does not take away from her wrong doings. I've tried over and over to justify it all but I can't. Even if she thought she was giving versed, she didn't even stay to monitor the patient after administering it. And she did not even look at the medication she pulled, at all, not once - that alone I just can not wrap my head around or forgive. 

Edited by JadedCPN

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I don't know that I agree with "deserved to be charged" but LEGALLY this fits the definition of reckless homicide.  Unfortunate that she is being made the scapegoat where there are so many problems in this situation, but her failure to act (following the 5 rights) led to someone's death. 

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Another thought in regards to everyone saying that it was an accident so there shouldn't be charges brought against her...of course it was an accident, there's no denying that she did not maliciously intend to kill this person. But intent is irrelevant. I think if she had NOT overriden all of the safety checks, and somehow this accident still happened, then one can argue she does not deserve charges. However the fact that she intentionally overrode and ignored all aspects of safety by her own admission makes it hard to not charge her.

Like others have mentioned, if your family member is killed in a car crash because the other driver was driving 30+ miles over the speed limit but had no intent to kill anyone maliciously, does that mean that they should not be charged?

Edited by JadedCPN

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^^^^^^Thanks, Wuzzie, was just going to ask if you had a link.

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18 minutes ago, Wuzzie said:

This was a really interesting read even though it is super long and sheds some light on the gross negligence of this nurse.

This is what happened by her own recollection...

The RN stated he/she then chose the override setting on the ADC and searched for the Versed. RN #1 stated she was talking to the Orientee while he/she was searching the ADC for the Versed and had typed in the first 2 letters of Versed which are VE and chose the 1st medication on the list. RN #1 stated he/she took out the medication vial out of the ADC, and looked at the back of the vial at the directions for how much to reconstitute it with. RN #1 verified he/she did not re-check the name on the vial. RN #1 stated he/she grabbed a sticker from the patient's file, a handful of flushes, alcohol swabs, a blunt tip needle. RN #1 stated he/she put the medication vial in a baggie and wrote on the baggie, "PET scan, Versed 1-2 mg" and went to Radiology to administer the medication to Patient #1. 

In her own words -

"I was in a patient care role, I was the help-all nurse. A help-all nurse is a resource nurse and I had an Orientee. I went and searched for the med under [the patient's] profile [in the ADC] and it was not there. I chose the override setting and I searched for it. I was talking to the Orientee about why we do swallow studies in the ER...I typed in the first 2 letters [VE] and that's how I hit it, I chose the 1st one on the list. I took out the vial and I looked at the back at the directions for how much to reconstitute it with, I did not re-check the name on the vial."

Edited to add for those not familiar with a vial of vec, per the report it says: The vial had a red top that documented, "WARNING: PARALYZING AGENT."

Edited by JadedCPN

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14 minutes ago, JadedCPN said:

Edited to add for those not familiar with a vial of vec, per the report it says: The vial had a red top that documented, "WARNING: PARALYZING AGENT."

It also should be noted that when you override on an Accudose a window pops up stating that only STAT meds should be overridden and that at this institution there is a bright orange sticker on the cubie that states in effect "Warning Paralyzing agent".

And also this!684863169_veclid.jpg.8d97aea6c9bf0385ce51eaa8d5c84135.jpgvec lid.jpg

Edited by Wuzzie

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2 hours ago, hyllisR said:

In my facility, Versed is only given to monitored patients. 

I agree and no one is questioning that it's the national standard to make sure a patient who receives IV Versed should be monitored. Having some sort of first hand knowledge of this case from a colleague, I was told this was an ICU patient who technically should have been monitored by a nurse anyway.

I don't know if the provider who ordered the medication knew that the patient was sent to the MRI scanner unmonitored. The patient was awaiting transfer to a lower acuity unit but was still an ICU patient at the time she was sent to the MRI scanner. I guess you can say the provider should have factored that and decide to use a PO agent like Ativan like you suggested since she is technically downgraded in terms of acuity.

It may have also been more prudent for the provider to not order the 2 mg Versed all at one but maybe in divided doses with the nurse monitoring and determining if more doses are needed. But then again, the patient never got the right drug in the first place so we would never know if Versed was the appropriate choice or not. 

I'd say there may have been a breakdown in the communication between nurse and provider. The MRI wasn't an emergency in this case...there could have been more time spent coming up with a strategy on how best to send this patient to the test with consideration of her safety and the current nurse staffing situation on the unit. These are all safety stops along the way that probably didn't occur.

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