What did RaDonda Vaught do? Tennessee nurse sentenced to three years probation


Radonda Vaught, a former nurse in Tennessee, was sentenced to three years of probation in 2017 for the death of one of her patients, Charlene Murphey, in a fatal prescription error.

Judge Jennifer Smith said, “RaDonda Vaught made “a terrible and horrific mistake” and “the defendant suffered as a result.” Now we can dismiss all charges against Vaught.”

RaDonda Vaught’s story became a lightning rod for health care workers after a jury found her guilty of the criminal negligent murder and abuse of an incompetent adult.

Nurses gathered outside the courthouse on Thursday to applaud the decision not to sentence Vaught to prison.

According to David, a Georgia nurse, the verdict was probably the best out of a worst-case scenario. But everyone knows the judge should have said “I’m sorry, Radonda.”

Here is your medical license. Now learn from your mistakes and become a great nurse. We need nurses now more than ever.’ I mean, she’s innocent of what we can’t do under the pressures we all face every day.”

(Stephanie Amador/The Tennessean via AP, Pool)AP

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With the death of Charlene Murphey, RaDonda Vaught was charged with reckless murder and severe abuse of an incompetent adult in 2019. At the end of December 2017, he died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Murphy, 75, was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with brain damage. When the error occurred, her condition improved and she was due to be discharged from the hospital.

Murphy was given a sedative called Versed to help her rest before undergoing some sort of physical examination.

In 2017, Gallatin resident Charlene Murphey died from a fatal dose of the wrong drug while awaiting routine checkups at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Vaught tried to give Murphy her sedatives to put her at ease, but she instead gave her another drug that caused her paralysis.

Vaught claims she was “distracted” when she bypassed the automatic drug dispenser’s safety features and missed several warning signs between picking up the medication and passing it to the patient.

Murphy died before the error was discovered.

Vaught was described by prosecutors as a sloppy and disrespectful nurse. She broke her training and lost her patience during her trial.

The unchanging reality of this event is that Charlene Murphey is dead. Because, according to District Attorney Chad Jackson, RaDonda Vaught couldn’t pay attention to what she was doing.

Vaught’s lawyer, Peter Strianse, said his client made an “honest mistake.” She became a “victim” for systemic defects in a drug cabinet at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2017.

Vaught informed the Nursing Board that she knew the reason this patient was no longer alive. “There will never be a day when I don’t think about what I’ve done,” she said.

Vaught’s case got a lot of attention on social media.

Following the ruling, the American Nurses Association issued a statement warning that criminalizing medical errors could set a precedent for putting patients at risk if it had “a cold impact on reporting and process improvement”.

Before Vaught’s sentence, nurses and medical professionals attended a rally outside the courthouse. The crowd then watched the hearing proceedings online.

According to Judge Jennifer Smith, the court received several letters, phone calls and voicemails related to Vaught’s case. However, it cannot be considered as a sentence because it is irrelevant.

Charlene’s daughter-in-law said, “I think my mother-in-law is lost in all of this.” Chandra Murphy added that her family only wants peace and closure.

“We forgive her,” Chandra Murphey said. “I don’t think going to jail is an option for her.”

“I lost a lot more than my nursing license and my job.” I will never be the same after that. Vaught said:

Vaught ended his speech by begging the judge to be generous with his older brother. She will never be able to work in the medical field again.

Ankita Khanra

Ankita Khanrah is a sophomore in the Masters Program in Communication and Journalism (Integrated) at the KIIT Deemed University School of Mass Communication in Bhubaneswar.



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