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

Nurse Charged With Homicide

Nurses   (39,036 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.

364 Likes; 10 Followers; 82 Articles; 224,953 Visitors; 1,696 Posts

advertisement

You are reading page 52 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
      367
    • She deserved to be charged
      106

473 members have participated

128 Likes; 1 Follower; 31,456 Visitors; 1,719 Posts

1 hour 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.

 

I agree but I am seeing the situation from a Monday Morning Quarterback situation. I had a family member in a hospital recently but just in Step Down, I know mistakes happen and I did catch a few while there, they were not egregious or life threatening fortunately.

 

 

You posted the following on Jan 25 on another thread:  

"A family member was in an ED and was subsequently admitted to a Tele Unit. As the family member present at the bedside, I have detected quite a few things that should not have happened and fortunately pointed it out to the nurses who were there to provide care. Examples such as double doing on anticoagulation medications, delay for hours of rate controlling medications for an arrhythmia, etc were all possibly attributable to being overworked but I was also careful not to embarrass or make the nurses involved feel intimidated."

Fortunately you, a NP, were at your family member's bedside and were able to catch the mistakes in time so your family member didn't suffer any harm.  I think we are all familiar with the harm that can result to a patient from receiving a double dose of anticoagulants i.e. bleeding, intracranial hemorrhage, and to the harm that can result from multiple hour delays to receiving rate controlling medications for an arrhythmia e.g. heart failure, cardiac arrest.  Fortunately your family member didn't suffer any harm because you were there by their side to advocate for them.  Many patients (and their family members) are not as fortunate.  

You can keep downplaying errors in care as much as you like.  Perhaps if your family member had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke as a result of being overdosed with anticoagulants, or went into cardiac arrest or heart failure due to delays in receiving rate control medications, you would feel differently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

172 Likes; 1 Follower; 494 Visitors; 79 Posts

This is truly a multi-level failure. It would seem the nurse and the institution failed the patient. Even if not agreeing to the same level of failure. I mean, who do you trust? As a patient?  As an employee?  Yikes.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

526 Likes; 1 Follower; 10,990 Visitors; 1,114 Posts

10 minutes ago, Emergent said:

Well, there's another failure.  I think it's evident that the hospital tried to cover this up. 

But, eventually it did come out. This gal only got suspended from her new job when she was arrested. 

They are required to report a death directly due to a medical error.  

Apparently...they did not...you'll have to read down on this article.  The Board of Directors will probably be terminating a ton of people responsible for it as well.  They won't have a choice.  

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20181128/NEWS/181129938

 

Edited by Jory

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TriciaJ has 35 years experience as a RN and works as a Retired.

1,108 Likes; 5 Followers; 30,815 Visitors; 2,770 Posts

18 minutes ago, Emergent said:

Which is a failure of the current system of slow BON responses to nurses culpable in sentinal events.

When a police officer is involved in any on the job shooting in the line of duty, they pull him from active duty pending investigation. 

Why should a potentially incompetent nurse be allowed to work until the BON gets around to the case months later?

That's like the Catholic Church moving predatory priests to a different parish. That's a poor practice. 

Do we even know if Vandy reported her to the BON when they terminated her?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1,140 Likes; 7 Followers; 21,313 Visitors; 2,696 Posts

6 minutes ago, LilPeanut said:

The problem with that assumptionargument is that she had no idea whether it was ordered stat either.  She never looked at a MAR.  She took a verbal order for a controlled substance from another RN without any sort of checking. 

I've never worked somewhere where we were expected to regularly override meds that were not emergent.

I think it is a plainly clear and common idea that a nurse might have every reason to believe a medication was entered as  STAT when a patient is already in a procedure area waiting for the medication.

If you would like to talk about whether it was literally emergent or not, I agree it clearly wasn't. No way. And I can't defend her actions.

Just the same, the topic of whether it was actually emergent or not gets around to my assertion that fake emergencies (or imposed time pressures) have become a serious problem in acute care.

I mean, that is this situation. We have several people up in arms about a downgraded ICU patient, unattended and off monitors,  who needs something for anxiety right away in order to obtain an utterly non-urgent PET scan...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

524 Likes; 3 Followers; 8 Articles; 57,377 Visitors; 3,746 Posts

Just now, TriciaJ said:

I agree with this 100%.  However our employers do keep adding on the stress and putting nurses between a rock and a hard place.  Nursing schools really need to add courses on assertiveness and standing one's ground for patient safety.  They talk a good game about being patient advocates; are they teaching courses that specifically address how to do this?

There's been studies that explored nursing students' understanding of how interruptions can result in an error during medication administration.  I think the study by one Australian university as linked below are good ideas but requires buy in from administrators who will hire the future nurses and create a culture of safety within their facilities.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28445621

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26216062

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
advertisement

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

524 Likes; 3 Followers; 8 Articles; 57,377 Visitors; 3,746 Posts

46 minutes ago, Susie2310 said:

You can keep downplaying errors in care as much as you like.  Perhaps if your family member had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke as a result of being overdosed with anticoagulants, or went into cardiac arrest or heart failure due to delays in receiving rate control medications, you would feel differently.

I'm sorry but how are you accusing me of downplaying any of these errors? Please do not make assumptions about my posts and start an argument that is personal to me and has nothing to do with this discussion. What if something worse were to happen to my family member? I would want an investigation and try to find answers before I would pursue a civil lawsuit. I've already made my point about how I don't agree with criminal prosecution of medication errors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1,140 Likes; 7 Followers; 21,313 Visitors; 2,696 Posts

30 minutes ago, TriciaJ said:

 Nursing schools really need to add courses on assertiveness and standing one's ground for patient safety.  They talk a good game about being patient advocates; are they teaching courses that specifically address how to do this?

Too bad they're stuck on the same boogeyman they've always been focused on: The Evil Physician. They act like there's nothing to watch out for on behalf of the patient except what those uncaring, greedy doctors might do. I think they missed the memo that, for the most part, doctors aren't the ones running the show now...

Edited by JKL33

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1,752 Likes; 4 Followers; 17,069 Visitors; 2,546 Posts

2 hours ago, mtnNurse. said:

I agree, and I also think that licensed health professionals have a right to be protected from criminal charges when a facility fails to provide safe working environments, safe workloads, and safe work expectations. If the facility had provided all these things that would promote good nursing care, would this nurse have been in helper-nurse role or was she too inexperienced for that? Would there have been a med scanner in radiology (yes, we will never know if she would have chosen to use that scanner had there been one...but just maybe)? Would the dead patient never have been subject to the careless nurse because the patient's primary nurse would not have been overloaded to the extent that she couldn't attend to the patient while in radiology? We could think of lots more of such questions.

So you feel the hospital should test every staff person to make sure they understand basic nursing concepts? Like the 5 rights. Like monitoring patients for adverse reactions when giving IV push meds? Any nursing student knows these things. What if she paid lip-service to them and did her own thing when nobody was watching. There are lots of people who put on a good front but are very different behind closed doors.  Perhaps this is just the first time she got caught. Given the sheer number of horrible decisions she made in this single situation it’s a good bet she’s been playing it fast and loose for a long time. Is the hospital supposed to be psychic?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

212 Likes; 4,542 Visitors; 723 Posts

18 minutes ago, TriciaJ said:

Do we even know if Vandy reported her to the BON when they terminated her?

It would not appear they did. But I do not know if anyone knows for sure.

19 minutes ago, Jory said:

They are required to report a death directly due to a medical error.  

Apparently...they did not...you'll have to read down on this article.  The Board of Directors will probably be terminating a ton of people responsible for it as well.  They won't have a choice.  

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20181128/NEWS/181129938

 

Though that was a single physician's decision to cover up for the nurse. No other administrator's were on the phone with the ME - it was one physician who was hesitant to perhaps "throw a nurse under the bus" by saying the death was from her error. 

17 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

I think it is a plainly clear and common idea that a nurse might have every reason to believe a medication was entered as  STAT when a patient is already in a procedure area waiting for the medication.

If you would like to talk about whether it was literally emergent or not, I agree it clearly wasn't. No way. And I can't defend her actions.

Just the same, the topic of whether it was actually emergent or not gets around to my assertion that fake emergencies (or imposed time pressures) have become a serious problem in acute care.

I mean, that is this situation. We have several people up in arms about a downgraded ICU patient, unattended and off monitors,  who needs something for anxiety right away in order to obtain an utterly non-urgent PET scan...

I'll have to agree to disagree on that. I honestly cannot even conceive of overriding a med in a non code situation that I haven't seen an order for, especially a controlled substance.  I think the fact that she took a verbal order for a controlled substance from a nurse without ever verifying it is just as much of an issue as anything else. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1,140 Likes; 7 Followers; 21,313 Visitors; 2,696 Posts

12 minutes ago, LilPeanut said:

I'll have to agree to disagree on that. I honestly cannot even conceive of overriding a med in a non code situation that I haven't seen an order for, especially a controlled substance.  I think the fact that she took a verbal order for a controlled substance from a nurse without ever verifying it is just as much of an issue as anything else. 

I hadn't noted anywhere that it said whether she looked at the order at any point or not. That issue is not addressed specifically unless I overlooked it; it kind of appears to me that they didn't ask her that specific question. But if she did start this whole process without looking at the order, it's another thing I can't fathom.

I am familiar with different utilizations of the override function - not based on my own decision-making but because of the way its use has evolved over time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

333 Likes; 1 Follower; 1,805 Visitors; 305 Posts

Let's assume Vandy did not report her to the BON.  If that is the case, I wonder if the BON can launch an investigation based on the  charges and CMS report?  Can CMS report nurses?

If the BON actually IS investigating, but is taking this long to revoke her license, that is a big problem. If our own licensing board can't remove an unsafe nurse from patient care pending a fair investigation, I'm more inclined to think the criminal charges are necessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×