Jump to content
2019 Nursing Salary Survey Read more... ×

Nurse Charged With Homicide

Nurses   (38,661 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.

334 Likes; 10 Followers; 81 Articles; 224,791 Visitors; 1,688 Posts

advertisement

You are reading page 4 of Nurse Charged With Homicide. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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
      366
    • She deserved to be charged
      106

472 members have participated

NuGuyNurse2b works as a Student Nurse.

22 Likes; 9,117 Visitors; 922 Posts

I doubt she'll actually end up in prison.  She will lose her license, though.  And to the person who thinks pharmacy has anything to do with this....*rolling my eyes*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

334 Likes; 10 Followers; 81 Articles; 224,791 Visitors; 1,688 Posts

1 hour ago, adventure_rn said:

I so agree.

This whole story reminds me so much of the nurse at Seattle Children's who committed suicide after a med error killed a baby (she accidentally gave 10 times the dose of calcium chloride). Instead of completing a root cause analysis, the hospital quickly fired her. This was an amazing critical care nurse with decades of experience on the unit.

Even if this person made a huge med error, I'm sure the guilt is already destroying her life. I don't see how a homicide charge would benefit anyone in this scenario.  

it reminds me of the story about Kim Hiatt, too. She was the nurse at Seattle Children's who committed suicide. Her story is here in the article

When Nurses Make Fatal Errors

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pixie.RN has 18 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and works as a Infection Preventionist/Nurse Epidemiologist.

250 Likes; 7 Followers; 32 Articles; 125,607 Visitors; 12,817 Posts

I read a comment on the internet (so consider the source, haha) that was from someone who said she was a lawyer, and her opinion was that if the hospital system made changes to keep things like this from reoccurring, they are just as culpable as the nurse. Which does make sense to me, from a logic standpoint. But we know how logic doesn't always play into things!

Having worked with high-risk meds for years before profiling and scanning and EMRs were even a thing, I think we had it hardwired in us to check and check and doublecheck ourselves as part of the 5 rights. Did we still make errors? Yes. But I am still baffled by this one, which took effort to reconstitute a med before giving it, something you don't do with midazolam.

So sad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1,660 Likes; 4 Followers; 16,988 Visitors; 2,523 Posts

13 minutes ago, Iheartwoundcare said:

What is the legal precedent to charge a med error as reckless homicide? Do we all need to now prepare ourselves for the same fate if we make a mistake in the future? Frightening. 

 

7 hours ago, HomeBound said:

Reckless homicide is a crime in which the perpetrator was aware that their act (or failure to act when there is a legal duty to act) creates significant risk of death or grievous bodily harm in the victim, but ignores the risk and continues to act (or fail to act), and a human death results.

This nurse did not make mistakes. She made a series of awful, inexcusable decisions including not doing the appropriate assessment of a patient receiving Versed. If she had, at minimum, done this the patient would not have died from the inadvertent administration of Vecuronium and we would be having an entirely different discussion.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

332 Likes; 1 Follower; 1,801 Visitors; 305 Posts

I've seen several posts referring to her lack of experience. I don't recall how long she had worked there or how long she had worked as a nurse, but I think overconfidence might have been a bigger factor. A newer nurse not experienced in administering Versed would surely have acted with more caution.

Someone questioned whether the Vercuronium had adequate labeling. The error was discovered when another nurse saw the packaging laying there and recognized it right away. So I don't think that was the problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 Like; 1,492 Visitors; 62 Posts

She should lose her license, yes.  But any criminal charges should involuntary manslaughter. It not like she set out to kill someone, and this will forever haunt her as it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
advertisement

10 Visitors; 1 Post

The patient suffered horrible ramifications before she died:  she could feel and hear everything but could not move or breath.  I am a CRNA, some people can suffer respiratory difficulties even with a small pre treatment dose. Of a non depolarize game dose is given.  Many problems with the system at this institution!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1,094 Likes; 7 Followers; 21,235 Visitors; 2,679 Posts

2 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

 

This nurse did not make mistakes. She made a series of awful, inexcusable decisions including not doing the appropriate assessment of a patient receiving Versed. If she had, at minimum, done this the patient would not have died from the inadvertent administration of Vecuronium and we would be having an entirely different discussion.  

There is the scenario of purposely not doing something you know you need to do - or knowing that you are being reckless, and then there are scenarios where there is enough of a "don't know what you don't know" influence that it's plausible that a good deal of this made sense (to her) at the time it was happening.

That is my belief since learning the amount of nursing experience involved here. And I highly suspected from the beginning that this was not going to turn out to be someone with 10 or even 5 years' experience. I don't think this was the "oh hey, screw it, let's just do it this way!" scenario that people are imagining. It sounds like a lack of solid experience way more than it sounds purposeful or even knowingly reckless.

- This was an unusual process right from the beginning, right? This is not how we do things. ICU patients typically would never go to outpatient departments unaccompanied to wait for and receive testing. [I'm not saying it was wrong, merely that it was unusual.]

- We typically do not administer IV anxiolytic medication to patients waiting unaccompanied in outpatient settings. But that's what was expected here, that's the type of medication that was ordered, and someone asked her to take care of it, as a task, because they were busy. Again, not wrong that this med was ordered for this patient in that particular circumstance, just unusual.

- If you don't know that your pyxis is indexed with generic names only, you might type in VE to get midazolam.

- [If you don't look at a label conscientiously and perform 5 Rs - critical error. No excuses.]

- If you know basically what versed is for, but you haven't used it much or ever, there is no reason it would seem wrong that it needed to be reconstituted

- If you know that no one is worried about or talking about or acting as if this is a (conscious/moderate) sedation scenario, then you can believe that monitoring is not required. No one's talking about any anesthesia consents or any of that. And when you don't know what you don't know, you can make it make sense: No monitoring is required and that's why someone asked you to swing by and give it on your way to the ED....

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

46 Visitors; 1 Post

No she should not be charged, this is a horrible mistake. How did she even get that drug. Usually only anesthesia has it. Should she have double checked? Absolutely. Does Vanderbilt not have bar code scanning or did she not use it? We need more information on how this happened. She must be feeling awlful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1,660 Likes; 4 Followers; 16,988 Visitors; 2,523 Posts

4 minutes ago, Diane012 said:

No she should not be charged, this is a horrible mistake. How did she even get that drug. Usually only anesthesia has it. Should she have double checked? Absolutely. Does Vanderbilt not have bar code scanning or did she not use it? We need more information on how this happened. She must be feeling awlful.

There is a detailed report on each event that led up to this tragedy on the other thread. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 Like; 245 Visitors; 14 Posts

There's a lot of horror stories when there is no nurse patient ratio being implemented across the board. That's why this things are happening again and again when it comes to the delivery of medications much more during the crucial period of patient's lives. At the present time, I'm practicing nursing in the State of California and we are just fortunate that the patients are given quality care as compared to other states that doesn't employ such ruling.  Hopefully, the nurse patient ratio law should be implemented in the continental US asap to avoid fatal errors in all aspect of care.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Daisy4RN has 20 years experience.

460 Likes; 1 Follower; 5,583 Visitors; 752 Posts

I feel bad for her to have to live with this for the rest of her life. If she is being held legally accountable then the hospital should be as well. This was a systemic problem as most are. Until hospitals are held accountable they will continue to throw the nurse under the bus and go about using unsafe practices at patients expense. Sounds like they did a "correction plan" and got away with inexcusable behaviors that we all know they do! Just sad all the way around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×