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Nurse Charged With Homicide

Nurses   (38,625 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
      366
    • She deserved to be charged
      106

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and works as a Adult Critical Care Nurse Practitioner.

522 Likes; 3 Followers; 8 Articles; 57,356 Visitors; 3,744 Posts

6 minutes ago, Jory said:

The investigation, from my understanding, from a CMS standpoint, is over.  At this point, the nurse is gone and they are working with Vanderbilt on some changes, but the rest is up to the DA's office.  

RV, even if she was distracted...what is going to sink her ship is everything else she overlooked and the other policies she violated. 

Well from my standpoint, she is damaged goods. No matter what happens, no facility will hire her with that reputation. All her "friends" and supporters from the gofundme page would have forgotten about her in a few months. Just a cursory google sleuthing on the similar case of the nurse in Florida brings up that though the RN license is still active, the LinkedIn page shows him working in a different field with a court order indicating trouble with the condo homeowners association that the RN belongs to. That's if I have truly searched the right person. 

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

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2 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

She was in an ICU....she may have been accustomed to the leeway of which you speak, Jory.

...but that is at my hospital. Vanderbilt may be different. I have never worked there, so I have no idea.  But it is a dangerous practice overall if you don't truly need it right then.  

Even the ER and ICU doesn't get a complete free pass.

Example: Let's say you have someone coming in with intractable vomiting.  I think we can all agree nobody is going to die in the next 15 minutes with intractable vomiting, especially after an IV is started and flowing.  The ER doc may tell you to pull some IV Zofran to get it going...patient absolutely needs it now because while not emergent...it is urgent. Everyone saves the bottles and scans it after-the-fact.  

But if that same patient is just very nauseous...you need to wait until that drug is loaded so you can pull it.  

Drugs pulled on override not verified with pharmacy also runs the risk of drug interactions with something else the patient is on.

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35 minutes ago, Jory said:
52 minutes ago, mtnNurse. said:

Yes, we all agree on what she "should have known". Again, based on interpretation of the law, this does not make her a criminal. Interpretation of the law is subjective. 

 

There is no "interpretation" here.  Any first year law student could tell you what reckless homicide is...it is when your NEGLIGENCE causes the death of another human being.

There is nothing difficult, hard, or confusing about those words.  

It's not even up for debate...those that actually have law degrees and practice law for a living have already made this decision and that is why she has been charged.  Other nurses have been charged and convicted for similar actions.  There is even case law to back it up. 

Pardon me -- What I was saying is that based on interpretation of the law, what she did does not make her guilty of criminal charges. Interpretation of the law is subjective. 

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

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1 minute ago, juan de la cruz said:

Well from my standpoint, she is damaged goods. No matter what happens, no facility will hire her with that reputation. All her "friends" and supporters from the gofundme page would have forgotten about her in a few months. Just a cursory google sleuthing on the similar case of the nurse in Florida brings up that though RN license is still active but the LinkedIn page shows working in a different field, and a court order indicating trouble with the condo homeowners association that the RN belongs to. That's if I have truly searched the right person. 

I think this is one point we can 100% agree on, all other differences aside.  Because her name is unique, she can be searched on the internet, forever, and this will always come up.  Her only hope at this time, is avoiding a felony.  

If I was her, I would GLADY pull a few months in jail to avoid a felony for life.  I would even be ok with her getting this expunged after being monitored for a few years as this situation is not a hazard to the general public and unlikely to repeat itself if she is not taking care of patients.  

 

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and works as a Adult Critical Care Nurse Practitioner.

522 Likes; 3 Followers; 8 Articles; 57,356 Visitors; 3,744 Posts

2 minutes ago, Jory said:

I think this is one point we can 100% agree on, all other differences aside.  Because her name is unique, she can be searched on the internet, forever, and this will always come up.  Her only hope at this time, is avoiding a felony.  

If I was her, I would GLADY pull a few months in jail to avoid a felony for life.  I would even be ok with her getting this expunged after being monitored for a few years as this situation is not a hazard to the general public and unlikely to repeat itself if she is not taking care of patients.  

 

And her case was brought in front of a grand jury that decided to pursue the criminal charges, hence, the court date on the 20th.

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LilPeanut has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and works as a NNP.

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I believe she immediately went and got a new job at a different ICU at a different hospital.  She was suspended there after all this came out. 

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5 minutes ago, LilPeanut said:

We know it wasn't stat because when they discussed the order, it was not ordered as a stat medication and the warning was flashed to not override non-stat orders, which was one of the errors she made.

Where do they say it wasn't entered as a STAT order? There is more than one way to understand what they wrote about that in the report. You are assuming that the order wasn't entered as a STAT order, the machine knew that the order wasn't STAT, and that's why the warning came up.

It's very possible that the warning comes up every time override is used. That's the way I read it. I don't think it is at all connected with the actual status of the order.

 

 

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LilPeanut has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and works as a NNP.

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Just now, JKL33 said:

Where do they say it wasn't entered as a STAT order? There is more than one way to understand what they wrote about that in the report. You are assuming that the order wasn't entered as a STAT order, the machine knew that the order wasn't STAT, and that's why the warning came up.

It's very possible that the warning comes up every time override is used. That's the way I read it. I don't think it is at all connected with the actual status of the order.

 

 

Why would they mention it as a factor with her having dismissed it then, if it actually was a stat order? 

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9 minutes ago, Jory said:

...but that is at my hospital. Vanderbilt may be different. I have never worked there, so I have no idea.  But it is a dangerous practice overall if you don't truly need it right then.  

Even the ER and ICU doesn't get a complete free pass.

Example: Let's say you have someone coming in with intractable vomiting.  I think we can all agree nobody is going to die in the next 15 minutes with intractable vomiting, especially after an IV is started and flowing.  The ER doc may tell you to pull some IV Zofran to get it going...patient absolutely needs it now because while not emergent...it is urgent. Everyone saves the bottles and scans it after-the-fact.  

But if that same patient is just very nauseous...you need to wait until that drug is loaded so you can pull it.  

Drugs pulled on override not verified with pharmacy also runs the risk of drug interactions with something else the patient is on.

Agree.

 

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26 minutes ago, Jory said:
51 minutes ago, mtnNurse. said:

 

I'm not sure how answering those questions will answer whether she was aware...based on your definition of reckless homicide. Your questions would just answer whether she should have been aware.

Those questions are the very legal definition of reckless homicide. 

What I've said is based on the definition of reckless homicide that person posted. If you want to post a different definition, I'll see if that changes my opinion. I'm not sure why you aren't understanding my interpretation of that definition, and the use of the word "aware". I understand completely if you disagree with my interpretation, but I'm not sure yet how to make my interpretation any clearer. Yes, the law is subjective in how we interpret it when courts decide whether to find someone guilty of criminal charges. That's why lawyers debate both sides, right?

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26 minutes ago, Jory said:
28 minutes ago, juan de la cruz said:

The CMS report is not detailed enough to prove that she is not distracted. She had an orientee and she was heading to the ED after carelessly finishing her task in Radiology.

 

.So you are assuming...got it.

Jory, you are assuming she was not distracted, yes? What's the difference between assuming that and assuming she was distracted? I wrote in a previous post about why I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was distracted.

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and works as a Adult Critical Care Nurse Practitioner.

522 Likes; 3 Followers; 8 Articles; 57,356 Visitors; 3,744 Posts

Has anyone checked their Epic? Ours doesn’t even allow ordering any medication as stat or now. The only option is for: drug name 1 mg IV once.

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