Former Tennessee Nurse Convicted Of Administering Fatal Dose To Patient Will Serve No Jail Time

Former Tennessee Nurse Convicted Of Administering Fatal Dose To Patient Will Serve No Jail Time

The former Tennessee nurse convicted of delivering a fatal drug dose to a patient will not serve any time behind bars. 

RaDonda Vaught, 38, was convicted of two felonies for the fatal mistake. On Friday, Judge Jennifer Smith granted her a judicial diversion, which means Vaught’s record will be expunged if she completes three years of probation. 

“Miss Vaught is well aware of the seriousness of the offense,” Smith said. “She credibly expressed remorse in this courtroom.” The judge noted that the patient’s family suffered a “terrible loss” and that “nothing that happens here today can ease that loss.”

Vaught, who also had her nursing license revoked over the incident, administered the wrong medication to 75-year-old Charlene Murphy. Instead of giving Murphy the prescribed sedative Versed, Vaught gave her a fatal dose of vecuronium. 

The former nurse reported her mistake as soon as she realized what had happened. She admitted to making several errors leading up to the fatal error, but her defense attorney argued that some of the blame should be placed on Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

Vaught apologized to the victims’ family in court, and Murphy’s son Michael said his mother wouldn’t want to see Vaught serve any jail time. “Mom was a very forgiving person,” he said. However, he admitted that his father wanted Vaught to receive the maximum penalty. 

The case drew scrutiny from many nurses who believe this could add to the nursing shortage by setting a precedent of criminalizing medical mistakes. They also felt that it could make other nurses less likely to own up to their errors. A crowd of nurses outside that were protesting cheered after hearing Vaught’s sentence. 

About ErinBoogie

Erin Boogie is a blogger for BallerAlert.com and producer/co-host of the weekly radio show In the Field Radio.

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