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Nurse Charged With Homicide

Nurses   (39,046 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

5 Likes; 38 Visitors; 3 Posts

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. 

 

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573 Likes; 3 Followers; 25,921 Visitors; 5,225 Posts

I think most people posting about this incident believe that the mistake was incredibly egregious. Many of us just can't find many mitigating factors compelling enough to let her off the hook, and believe she should suffer serious consequences-loss of license, and the potential of paying some severe civil penalties. We don't necessarily have to throw someone in jail in order to see justice done.

 

Edited by Horseshoe

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

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I read the original post on this and still think the problem is two-fold.  Yes, the nurse certainly behaved negligently.  No matter how you slice and dice it, she bypassed every safety protocol.

The hospital also implements egregious practices.  Staffing is clearly a joke to them.  They need to be charged right along with the nurse.

This whole scenario is the classic definition of cluster****.

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tining has 23 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a School Nurse.

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What about the pharmacist that sent the wrong med or is Vecuronium in the pixes?

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     Given the opportunity that she correctly took Versed from the machine, I don't think that Versed would be appropriate to administer the patient with anxiety in getting the scan on her to be done. With this, according to Wikipedia, Midazolam (Versed) acts as a sedative to render the condemned prisoner unconscious, at which time the vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride are administered, stopping the prisoner's breathing and heart, respectively. Florida used midazolam to execute William Happ in October 2013. In my own opinion, the condemned person is not even a patient but was rendered dead with Versed. 

     In this regard, Versed should or cannot be administered in an ordinary setting without the patient being monitored because there is a thin line that separate between life and death. Ordinarily, the medicines that we commonly use are Ativan, Haldol, pain medications like Morphine, Dilaudid, anti anxiety like xanax, alprazolam and a whole lot lists of medicines that are readily available but sure safe to be administered. Administering Versed is for people who knows how to use this product with advance certifications like NP, anesthetist, MD because they are usually given in the OR or procedural area with vital sign machine hook up. Therefore, whoever are the RN Managers of the hospital, Pharmacists, MDs, nurses on the floor, Nurse educators, CEO's and everyone that deals with the Policy making that didn't catch this incident as dangerous, are all responsible because they should know in the first place. Therefore, let's not point fingers or judge somebody who is more responsible and be condemned because we are all liable in making our patient safe but we didn't act upon it on timely manner. Health care delivery system is very dependent with the coordination of multi factorial specialty personnel. Nurses cannot do their job if there will be no MD, CNA, Pharmacist, PT, OT, dietary, Nutritionist, EVS, engineering, Bioethics etc who will support and help each other because no man is an island especially in carrying out quality care to the patients we serve.

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8 minutes ago, tining said:

What about the pharmacist that sent the wrong med or is Vecuronium in the pixes?

It was in the Pyxis. The nurse overrode the machine.

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Here's what I learned about reckless homicide from Wikipedia: 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 didn't deliberately administer the wrong medication. She made a terrible medication error and will live with that for the rest of her life.

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1 hour ago, HomeBound said:

 

I agree with HomeBound that people here are getting hot and bothered because they don't believe that nurses and doctors should be held to a higher standard.  

In my opinion, you would hardly know that nursing has a Code of Ethics and that nurses are supposed to be the Patient's Advocate.  I believe that nursing as a profession suffers from a serious lack of ethical behavior on the part of a number of nurses, and that the general public, who are our patients, suffer as a result.

Some health care professionals like to think that when they provide negligent care that harms or kills patients they will magically face no consequences - that there will be a "good fairy" to spirit away their errors that are due to negligence (and some facilities do hide errors and don't report them, just as some health care professionals don't report their errors). Medical/nursing errors have been shown to harm and kill large numbers of patients yearly, yet some nurses want all this to be brushed under the carpet and for there to be no criminal, civil, social, or employment consequences.  

Edited by Susie2310

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2 minutes ago, magellan said:

     Given the opportunity that she correctly took Versed from the machine, I don't think that Versed would be appropriate to administer the patient with anxiety in getting the scan on her to be done. With this, according to Wikipedia, Midazolam (Versed) acts as a sedative to render the condemned prisoner unconscious, at which time the vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride are administered, stopping the prisoner's breathing and heart, respectively. Florida used midazolam to execute William Happ in October 2013. In my own opinion, the condemned person is not even a patient but was rendered dead with Versed. 

     In this regard, Versed should or cannot be administered in an ordinary setting without the patient being monitored because there is a thin line that separate between life and death. Ordinarily, the medicines that we commonly use are Ativan, Haldol, pain medications like Morphine, Dilaudid, anti anxiety like xanax, alprazolam and a whole lot lists of medicines that are readily available but sure safe to be administered. Administering Versed is for people who knows how to use this product with advance certifications like NP, anesthetist, MD because they are usually given in the OR or procedural area with vital sign machine hook up. Therefore, whoever are the RN Managers of the hospital, Pharmacists, MDs, nurses on the floor, Nurse educators, CEO's and everyone that deals with the Policy making that didn't catch this incident as dangerous, are all responsible because they should know in the first place. Therefore, let's not point fingers or judge somebody who is more responsible and be condemned because we are all liable in making our patient safe but we didn't act upon it on timely manner. Health care delivery system is very dependent with the coordination of multi factorial specialty personnel. Nurses cannot do their job if there will be no MD, CNA, Pharmacist, PT, OT, dietary, Nutritionist, EVS, engineering, Bioethics etc who will support and help each other because no man is an island especially in carrying out quality care to the patients we serve.

Wikipedia? Really? Perhaps the MD who was actually caring for this patient is the one best able to determine what medication should be used rather than an internet source. Versed in the hands of a properly educated nurse with the ability to critically think and respond appropriately to any adverse reactions is perfectly acceptable. I have given it thousands of times and managed not to kill anybody. 

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SouthernLPN2RN has 15 years experience and works as a Clinical Informatics.

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Things like this are what prevent med errors and near misses from being reported. I don't feel the nurse should lose the license or be charged. There should be extensive retraining as well as a facility analysis as to the cause of this and how the system broke to allow it to happen. Yes, the nurse was wrong, but this could have been prevented before she even had a chance to be wrong.

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51 minutes ago, Horseshoe said:

I think most people posting about this incident believe that the mistake was incredibly egregious. Many of us just can't find many mitigating factors compelling enough to let her off the hook, and believe she should suffer serious consequences-loss of license, and the potential of paying some severe civil penalties. We don't necessarily have to throw someone in jail in order to see justice done.

 

Yes. A serious mistake.  "Let her off the hook"?? How about support her in both recovering from such a mistake and mitigating it never happens again? You talk of suffering serious consequences?  I think knowing what happened is severe enough...unless she has psychopathic tendencies...I am sure she suffers each and every day.  You speak of justice? I think justice is creating a system that ensures all changes are made to decrease the potential for this to happen again.  I hold her Health system to the standards you apply to the individual.  That is where severe penalties should be applied.  In the eyes of the court, Corporations are and can be considered individual entities.  That is where I would aim my 'Sword of Justice'.   

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3 minutes ago, Wuzzie said:

Wikipedia? Really? Perhaps the MD who was actually caring for this patient is the one best able to determine what medication should be used rather than an internet source. Versed in the hands of a properly educated nurse with the ability to critically think and respond appropriately to any adverse reactions is perfectly acceptable. I have given it thousands of times and managed not to kill anybody. 

What kind of specialty area are you in when you give it to thousands of patient in your practice? Is your primary specialty is in the OR suite, Procedure, pre-op or ICU where the patient is hooked up in the monitor. I'm a registry nurse that works in the Medical Surgical, telemetry unit, ICU, burn unit, orthopedics, home health, psychiatry, LTAC, skilled nursing etc for 17 years but I haven't administered Versed in those areas of specialty. I did administer it however one time but it was in the surgery center with the doctor inside all the time and the patient was hooked up to the monitor with crash cart next to it. Versed have been used to kill a condemned prisoner in a death row with no medical condition.  Remember Michael Jackson with propofol, it's the same effect when given to patients without highly trained personnel and proper resuscitative equipment at bedside because usually it's being used as anesthetics. But sometimes, professionals used it to push the envelope thinking that it is really safe but it's not always the case. It's better to be safe than to be sorry later on.

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