Jump to content
2019 Nursing Salary Survey Read more... ×
Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse Verified

Nurses Call the Governor of Tennessee

Nurses   (12,466 Views 422 Comments)
273 Likes; 10 Followers; 79 Articles; 224,078 Visitors; 1,651 Posts
If you find this topic helpful leave a comment.
advertisement

You are reading page 11 of Nurses Call the Governor of Tennessee. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

8 hours ago, Jerry Hamm said:

I have started a petition on change.org and I am currently writing letters to the Davidson County DA, the Western Tennessee DA, the State Attorney General, etc. 

Please check out the petition and let's get it out to the public. This is a scary situation for all of us!

https://www.change.org/p/glenn-funk-vacate-grand-jury-indictment-of-radonda-leanne-vaught-former-registered-nurse

Jerry Hamm, FNP

 


The Davidson County DA does not report to the Western Tennessee DA.

He does not report to the State Attorney General.

Neither of those people have any control over whether this nurse is prosecuted for reckless homicide.  The only person who can make that decision is the Davidson County DA.  He only reports to the citizens of Davidson County.

The Western Tennessee DA is DA for the federal government.  He is responsible for prosecuting federal charges not state chargesReckless homicide is a state law and thus prosecutable by county DAs.  The only role the federal DA could play is if he decides the nurse violated the patient's constitutional rights, he could also file charges.

The State Attorney General advises the legislature on the constitutionality of state laws, defends the state laws if someone takes them to court claiming they are unconstitutional, sues drug manufacturers for the state, etc.  He does not prosecute criminals.  That is under the control of the county DA. 

County DAs are elected by the citizens in their county and report only to them.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

She is not being charged with murder. I agree that the abuse charge is gratuitous.

You are thinking of abuse in the way a layperson defines abuse.  The legal definition of abuse is different. 

The statutes define neglect as a form of abuse.  They define neglect as "failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness."  This is in the CMS document.

The nurse failed to provide services necessary to avoid physical harm when she failed to read the drug name on the label and failed to monitor the patient for an adverse reaction after administering the drug.

The patient was over 70 thus the charge of abuse of an impaired adult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Emergent said:

I'm not sure the BON or the justice system is well tasked to deal with this type of incompetence. Apparently,  over a year after this egregious error, this woman still has an unencumbered license and is working as a nurse. Is this true, as people here have said?

I'm sorry,  but that is too slow. Whether it was exhaustion, a psychological deficit,  or something physical like a brain tumor,  this woman showed a shocking lack of capability to be a safe nurse. 

According to the state licensure database she still has an unencumbered license.  You can look it up here.

https://apps.health.tn.gov/Licensure/default.aspx

I question whether this was reported to the BON.

Vanderbilt did not report this event to the state regulatory bodies as required by law.  They reported the death to the medical examiner as being due to a brain bleed instead of due to the vecuronium violating another law. 

CMS found out about it in October when an individual (not Vanderbilt) reported it.

It appears Vanderbilt was trying to cover this up.  Do you think they would have reported this to the BON?

I suspect they did not report it to the BON.  I'm sure the nurse wouldn't have reported herself.  The BON probably didn't find out about it until they read about it in the paper in November.  It doesn't look like the BON met in December or January.  Their next meeting is Feb 13-14.  They post their meeting minutes online.  It will be interesting to see if they discuss this in the upcoming meeting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, juan de la cruz said:

I will accept that she may not be ready for the responsibility of being a resource nurse whatever that means (since Vanderbilt did not clarify that role in the report). However, the incident involved an act of medication administration that is performed by an ICU nurse at her level of experience. My assumption is that she wasn't being asked to perform a procedure that she hasn't been trained to do.

A resource nurse is like a float nurse or a "help-all". Typically ICU trained and floated to floors that need help due to high acuity or influx of patients. Float nurses do not have patient assignments. They typically give medications, take patients to imaging that requires monitoring, etc. Things that the nurse assigned to the patient is too busy to complete. Hope this helps! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read the petition.  It's fraught with emotion and not strong on facts.  Does not make a strong case for why this nurse shouldn't be charged.  No way is it anything I would put my signature on.  The justice system has a responsibility to the public.  So do we.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Asystole RN said:

Depends on when the board was notified and how long their investigations usually take. For something like this since a criminal charge was levied I would imagine it would complicate things for them.

The Tennessee BON outlines their process and timeline on their website.  When a complaint is filed the first thing that happens is the complaint is assigned to a lawyer who will determine if the complaint is under the jurisdiction of the BON, e.g. the BON won't take action if a patient complains that the nurse wouldn't bring them a diet mountain dew.  They say this can take 2-4 weeks. 

If the complaint does fail under the BON's oversight, then an investigator is assigned to collect data and interview people.  This can take 2-3 months.

Then a committee meets to review the information and formulate a recommendation (take no action, sanction, suspend, etc.) for the BON. 

Then the full board meets and votes on the recommendation.

Tennessee posts online the BON meeting minutes, BON schedule, and disciplinary actions.  They do NOT post complaints.  You can only see complaint information if the board decides to sanction the nurse.  If the board decides not to act, no information about the complaint is available.

There is no way to know if they were ever informed about this event.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
advertisement
10 hours ago, Jerry Hamm said:

Please everyone understand that we are not "standing up" for or "rallying" to support the nurse's alleged error. If we make errors, we are held responsible and the appropriate professional boards should discipline us, but when errors are UNINTENTIONAL, we should not be held criminally reliable......

She bypassed SEVEN! safety checks that could have prevented this error and prevented this patient suffocating to death (bear in mind this patient was fully conscious and aware when they were suffocating

 

I cant say I'd be as forgiving as the patients family, whether that is because I know the fully gravity behind the nurses negligence, and exactly how horrifc their death would have been I'd be baying for blood.

If any nurse including myself by passed SEVEN safety checks and as a result caused the death of a patient in such a horrific manner, perhaps they should be criminally charged

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, HomeBound said:

I ❤️ this statement a million times. IT'S HONEST.

"...the only reason I can come up with as to why I don't want her to face criminal trial is out of solidarity for the profession..."

I can respect this. Unfortunately, I've had a family member and a friend at separated times, tangle with the the BON and the criminal justice system.

The BONs...well, I have my doubts about them. Read any story in the "recovery" forum, and you'll see why I am terrified (and that is NOT too strong a word)--to even have a glass of wine at dinner, where I am driving home. I won't take a percocet that I was prescribed for a broken ankle for my bachache--even if it will get me thru the shift. I am terrified of them. My pal was accused of diversion because of horrible, horrible lack of orientation to a new EHR as a traveler at a completely CRAP hospital full of nothing but travelers and nasty RNMgrs with chips on their shoulders---who made the accusation 3 months after my friend left. I have a love/hate relationship with the BON.

My family member--I was emotional, sad, begging for leniency because hey---this is someone I care about. It also embarrassed my family, broke my mother's heart and split people up over the subject of the crime.

Emotion has no place in the law. "Solidarity" for a profession is pulling together to make change happen, as in a union.

I saw that pulling together, "circling the wagons" for my family member didn't help them. It helped the rest of the family.

And yes, before MtnRN chimes in, I would absolutely, 100%, every day, all the time---be willing to self report and take my punishment for doing something on the line of what ReDonda Vaught did. I've self reported a stupid 1 step difference in an insulin drip THAT ACTUALLY HELPED THE PATIENT. I'm all okay with taking responsibility for what I do---it's called adulting. And it's frickin' hard. And scary. And I screw up. I read the chart wrong on the insulin drip because the instructions are very convoluted, I interpreted them myself---without asking for help on any doubts I had---and I titrated the drip DOWN instead of keeping it the same. I caught it when I went to do the calculation the next hour---and I literally---and I mean LITERALLY called every single person in authority. Charge RN, resource nurse, Asst RN Mgr---stopped what I was doing, sat down at the computer and wrote up an incident report...

you know the reaction I got?  blank stares. they could not understand why I was upset and almost puking. I HELPED the patient. He should actually have been off the infusion.

I'm terrified of insulin drips. Rightfully so. If you aren't afraid of things like nor-epi, insulin, dopamine, versed, fentanyl---you aren't paying attention and should never even handle these substances. Even blood products. I double and triple check. I watch people smirk and roll their eyes when I debate an expiration discrepancy on a blood product.

I'm a-okay with that. I will be able to defend myself if I mess up, because i will be the first to admit it.

RaDonda Vaught not only didn't admit it to a self reporting system, she colluded with Vandy to allow her to skip off to another employer, non the wiser. Now she's sorry, after she's been caught and financial/personal/professional consequences are being leveled.

 

I love this plus a million😀❤️

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Workitinurfava said:

This wasn't deliberate, so she doesn't deserve the homicide charge.

If she'd bypassed one safety check I would agree.

 

She bypassed SEVEN safety checks.  And the charge was reckless homicide

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 hours ago by Jerry Hamm

-2 Likes; 16 Visitors; 3 Posts

Please everyone understand that we are not "standing up" for or "rallying" to support the nurse's alleged error. If we make errors, we are held responsible and the appropriate professional boards should discipline us, but when errors are UNINTENTIONAL, we should not be held criminally reliable. If any of you think you are beyond being in this situation one day because you are not going to ever make an error, you are living in a world of euphoria and your error will come sooner than later.  

If this nurse is charge with MURDER and ABUSE for making an UNINTENTIONAL ERROR, this is setting a precedent in the Court system for any of us to be facing criminal charges if we make a mistake in our professional practices. 

 

As opposed to "INTENTIONAL ERROR"?  Sorry. that's just.....nonsensical. 

Unintentional error is an oxymoron. So what is an intentional error?  Premeditated murder? I think that might fall under....intentional act. Premeditated or intended at the moment.

Again. She's not charged with murder. She is charged with UNINTENTIONAL HOMICIDE, otherwise known as....reckless homicide or involuntary manslaughter in some other states.

Some brilliant person here clarified for me that "abuse" under TN definition (and I think CMS? I just slogged again thru the report) that "abuse" includes neglect.

Jerry. READ THE CMS REPORT. Please. This is getting...embarrassing....that the same definitions need to be repeated to allegedly highly educated people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, juan de la cruz said:

To those who are supportive of Nurse Vaught, she has a gofundme page. Her statement is remarkable in its honesty given the limits of what she can divulge:

 

Do you think there might be a slight chance that her "honesty" was coached? I'm too suspicious to find it remarkable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, mtmkjr said:

I've read many comments from people who are concerned that criminal charges for a med error set a dangerous precedent.

While I disagree, due to the nature of this "error", I am also thinking of the public trust. Isn't nursing the "most trusted profession"? What happens to that trust when people see that we are not willing to accept  legal consequences when someone lost their life due to the reckless actions of one of our own?

 

Just to clarify, there have been only a very few posters here who advocate no "legal consequences." But we have civil and criminal legal consequences in our country, and that seems to be where the bone of contention lies for most.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×