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Nurse Charged With Homicide

Nurses   (39,206 Views 676 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

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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
      367
    • She deserved to be charged
      106

473 members have participated

aflahe00 has 7 years experience and works as a RN.

11 Likes; 2,148 Visitors; 151 Posts

On 2/5/2019 at 8:49 PM, mtnNurse. said:

Would this happen to a doctor if a fatal mistake was made?

No because¬†he would likely blame the nurse for any mistake ūüėā

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107 Likes; 5,521 Visitors; 649 Posts

When I worked in a teaching hospital I would catch a lot of doctors mistakes, and it was unbelieveable.¬† I would call the doctor and say, you put this in but the medication amount is too high or you put in a double order. The doctor would say good catch and that would be that. On my end I am thinking had I administered that, the patient would have died or had an adverse reaction. It happened with meds the patient was allergic to as well. I know they have to learn but it is at the nurses risk ūüėā.

Edited by Workitinurfava

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128 Likes; 1 Follower; 31,461 Visitors; 1,719 Posts

1 hour ago, Maverickm808 said:

I don't understand why everyone is trying to pass the responsibility elsewhere. 

I believe some people don't like the implications for their own practice.  

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Tenebrae has 6 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse in Gerontology.

150 Likes; 10,342 Visitors; 1,379 Posts

The patient didnt just die, she spent her final minutes in immense suffering and agony fully aware of the fact that she was suffocating. 

Dont agree with charging her, however she needs some serious remediation before ever being allowed to practice as a nurse again. 

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Tenebrae has 6 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse in Gerontology.

150 Likes; 10,342 Visitors; 1,379 Posts

On 2/6/2019 at 8:18 PM, hyllisR said:

This is absolutely wrong on many levels. Pharmacy and medicine should also share¬†¬†the ‚Äúblame‚ÄĚ.¬†

 

We were taught in nursing school that people will make mistakes however that doesnt excuse our own mistakes. I recall as a student, the doctor charted 300-600mcg fentanyl (should have been 30-60mcg) and the nurse gave it almost killed the patient. The nurse was found to be equally culpable because they should have questioned the dose. 

 

We were told that while we dont have to know it all about medications, we need to have an idea of basic dose ranges and what the meds are given for

 

To put it into comparison I had a gastroscopy yesterday and was given 100mcg fentanyl for sedation which happily knocked me out for the procedure

Edited by Tenebrae

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107 Likes; 5,521 Visitors; 649 Posts

I hope the nurse doesn't kill herself.

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Tenebrae has 6 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse in Gerontology.

150 Likes; 10,342 Visitors; 1,379 Posts

On 2/7/2019 at 12:59 PM, Crow31 said:

Goodness, I can't get over this nurse is going to jail. You all really think about that. May be your next shift you could be in her shoes.¬†ūüėĒ

 

 

It wouldnt be me. 

 

Thats not to say I've not made a medication error. Shortly after my mum died, i went back to work too early and ended up making a medication error, giving digoxin and metoprolol to a patient who had no need for them

The first thing I did after i realised what I had done was to check the patients vitals, followed by ringing their doctor for further instruction. This involved close monitoring of the patient for the next 8 hours and if having any concerns sending them into the local acute hospital. It also involved having to ring the family and explain what had happened and apologise profusely for my med screw up. 

It could have turned out really different if I'd made the med error and then just walked away without checking on the patient

This nurse missed her five rights, and from the sound of it overrode a number of other safeguards to give an incorrect medication that left a patient paralysed and unable to breath. And then walked away and left her unmonitored. 

 

While I dont agree with criminal charges I believe this nurse needs serious remediation before ever being allowed to practice again

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aflahe00 has 7 years experience and works as a RN.

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Why are we focusing on blame and not at all on process improvement? I am shocked by some of these responses honestly.

I am a nurse I’ve worked in the hospital environment for years and I know it’s not a perfect place. nurses are basically puppets to be controlled and blamed for admistrators decisions to increase profits. Staffing shortages are just one example of that. 

Any nurse out there could make a fatal mistake under the right circumstances. This has gone too far. Yes there should be consequences for your mistakes but you LEARN from it. Processes change. if we never learned from our mistakes in the past people would be dying in the millions everyday. This will only drastically decrease reporting of med errors due to fear of facing jail time. 

The lessons to be learned and the policies that need changed will not be accomplished in this way.

 

Edited by aflahe00

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Leader25 has 35 years experience.

64 Likes; 2 Followers; 4,268 Visitors; 667 Posts

This reminds me of how those nurses were treated after Katrina- had to defend themselves for disaster nursing decisions.

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1,777 Likes; 4 Followers; 17,103 Visitors; 2,553 Posts

6 hours ago, aflahe00 said:

Why are we focusing on blame and not at all on process improvement? I am shocked by some of these responses honestly.

The lessons to be learned and the policies that need changed will not be accomplished in this way.

 

Since the processes that were already in place were so blatantly ignored what makes you think new ones are going to make any difference?

Edited by Wuzzie

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Jory has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNM.

548 Likes; 1 Follower; 10,997 Visitors; 1,124 Posts

On 2/6/2019 at 2:18 PM, DixieAnna said:

She was still a fair new nurse.

I fault the hospital pharmacy for having these both readily available at same time. The med should require double checking with another nurse. Name dose  and math ...never regret a double ck.

It saves lives.

Once a pt was ordered 11u of regular insulin.  It was read as 114 ...double check of this order would have saved the pt. The patient died of a unrecoverable low blood sugar.

Double ck would have saved pt. 

Believe me, you bring me 2 syringes of insulin??!!?! I want to see that order.

But back to specifically versed and vecuronium.. better safety measures should be in place.

This nurse will never forgive herself. 

 

It wouldn't have prevented it in this particular case because she never scanned the drug to start with.  I don't blame the hospital at all.  Someone else posted at this particular hospital, the drug actually has a special wrap marking it as a paralytic.  If she has been a nurse for four years and doesn't know what a paralytic is...well, I don't have anything nice to say about that.  

Being licensed as a nurse means you have certain professional responsibility as a state-licensed healthcare worker and the hospital shouldn't have to do what amounts to babysitting.  You don't enter "Ver" in the Pyxsis, pull out something that isn't even close to what you are looking for and say, "Meh, close enough".  We have five rights of medication for a reason.  Use the five rights and the entire electronic system could shut down and most prudent nurses wouldn't have made the mistake she did.

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Jory has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNM.

548 Likes; 1 Follower; 10,997 Visitors; 1,124 Posts

5 hours ago, Leader25 said:

This reminds me of how those nurses were treated after Katrina- had to defend themselves for disaster nursing decisions.

Well, that case is different.  None of us were taught to euthanize patients in the event of a natural disaster.  It is not legal to do so.  In the end, common sense prevailed and all were cleared because not everything can be regulated by a law...they were in an impossible situation.

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