Nashville DA on RaDonda Vaught case: Verdict is ‘not an impeachment against the nursing profession’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Nashville District Attorney’s Office released a statement following the sentencing of RaDonda Vaught after a jury found the former Vanderbilt nurse guilty of criminally negligent homicide.

The guilty verdict comes after RaDonda Vaught allegedly administered a lethal dose of the wrong drug to Charlene Murphey, 75, in December 2017. Charlene Murphey, 75, was awaiting a standard scan at Vanderbilt University Medical Center when Vaught was supposed to administer a sedative for Murphy’s comfort, but instead gave Murphey a different drug that causes paralysis. Murphy died within 20 minutes of receiving the drug.

On Saturday, the Nashville District Attorney’s Office released an image of the cap that was on the drug RaDonda Vaught administered to 75-year-old Charlene Murphey. According to the Nashville District Attorney’s Office, the drug’s cap had a warning label that read “warning: paralyzing agent.”

Courtesy of the Nashville District Attorney’s Office

Nurses across the country say the verdict has left them unsettled and as a result could leave aspiring nurses less eager to join the field or report medical errors. The American Nurses Association reacted to the lawsuit, saying the guilty verdict could have a “chilling effect on reporting and improving processes.”

However, in a statement released Saturday morning, the Nashville District Attorney’s Office said the verdict was not an indictment against the nursing profession, but rather “gross negligence” on Vaught’s part.

“RaDonda Vaught’s conviction by the jury was not an indictment against the nursing profession or the medical community. This case was and always has been about the gross negligence of RaDonda Vaught which caused the death of Charlene Murphey. It was not a ‘singular’ or ‘momentary’ mistake,” the statement read.

“Several health professionals were part of the jury. The jury found that a series of decisions were made by Vaught to ignore her nursing training and instead failed to follow safety protocols that proved fatal, the prosecutor’s office continued. . “The jury found this level of care to be so below the proper standard of a reasonable and prudent nurse that the verdict was warranted.”

Before a verdict was handed down, RaDonda Vaught spoke to News 2 and shared her thoughts on the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office, saying, “It took three of them and a bunch of lies to do their job and it is a reflection of them and not me.

Sentencing of RaDonda Vaught is scheduled for May 13.


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