Tennessee Nurse Convicted In Lethal Drug Error Sentenced To Three Years Probation: "Watch Now"

Tennessee Nurse Convicted In Lethal Drug Error Sentenced To Three Years Probation: "Watch Now"

RaDonda Vaught sentencing


RaDonda Vaught, a former Tennessee nurse convicted of  felonies for a deadly drug blunders, whose trial have become a rallying cry for nurses terrified of the criminalization of clinical errors, will now no longer be required to spend any time in jail.

Davidson County crook courtroom docket Judge Jennifer Smith on Friday granted Vaught a judicial diversion, because of this that her conviction could be expunged if she completes a 3-12 months probation.

Smith stated the Murphey own circle of relatives suffered a "horrible loss" and "not anything that takes place right here these days can ease that loss."


"Miss Vaught is nicely privy to the seriousness of the offense," Smith stated. "She credibly expressed regret on this court docket."

The choose stated that Vaught had no crook record, has been eliminated from the fitness care setting, and could by no means exercise nursing again. The choose additionally stated, "This changed into a horrible, horrible mistake and there had been outcomes to the defendant."

As the sentence changed into read, cheers erupted from a crowd of loads of purple-clad protesters who collected outdoor the courthouse in competition to Vaught's prosecution.

Vaught, 38, a former nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, confronted up to 8 years in jail. In March she changed into convicted of criminally negligent murder and gross forget of an impaired grownup for the 2017 dying of 75-12 months-antique affected person Charlene Murphey.

Murphey changed into prescribed Versed, a sedative, however Vaught inadvertently gave her a deadly dose of vecuronium, a effective paralyzer.

Charlene Murphey's son, Michael Murphey, testified at Friday's sentencing listening to that his own circle of relatives stays devastated through the surprising dying in their matriarch. She changed into "a totally forgiving person" who might now no longer need Vaught to serve any jail time, he stated, however his widower father desired Vaught to receive "the most sentence."

"My dad suffers each day from this," Michael Murphey stated. "He is going out to the graveyard 3 to 4 instances every week and simply sits available and cries."


Vaught's case stands proud due to the fact clinical mistakes ― even lethal ones ― are typically withinside the purview of nation clinical forums and proceedings are nearly by no means prosecuted in crook courtroom docket.

The Davidson County district attorney's office, which did now no longer endorse for any specific sentence or oppose probation, has defined Vaught's case as an indictment of 1 careless nurse, now no longer the whole nursing profession. Prosecutors argued in trial that Vaught neglected a couple of caution symptoms and symptoms whilst she grabbed the incorrect drug, which include failing to word Versed is a liquid and vecuronium is a powder.

Vaught admitted her blunders after the mix-up changed into discovered, and her protection in large part targeted on arguments that an sincere mistake need to now no longer represent a crime.

During the listening to on Friday, Vaught stated she changed into for all time modified through Murphey's dying and changed into "open and sincere" approximately her blunders in order to save you destiny errors through different nurses. 

Vaught additionally stated there has been no public hobby in sentencing her to jail due to the fact she couldn't in all likelihood re-offend after her nursing license changed into revoked.

"I even have misplaced a long way extra than simply my nursing license and my career. I will by no means be the equal person," Vaught stated, her voice quivering as she started out to cry. "When Ms. Murphey died, part of me died with her."

At one factor at some point of her announcement, Vaught became to stand Murphey's own circle of relatives, apologizing for each the deadly blunders and the way the general public marketing campaign in opposition to her prosecution might also additionally have pressured the own circle of relatives to relive their loss.

"You do not deserve this," Vaught stated. "I wish it does now no longer come upon as humans forgetting your cherished one. ... I suppose we're simply withinside the center of structures that do not recognize one another."

Prosecutors additionally argued at trial that Vaught circumvented safeguards through switching the hospital's automatic medicine cupboard into "override" mode, which made it feasible to withdraw medicinal drugs now no longer prescribed to Murphey, which include vecuronium. Other nurses and nursing professionals have advised KHN that overrides are mechanically used in lots of hospitals to get right of entry to medicine quickly.

Theresa Collins, a tour nurse from Georgia who carefully accompanied the trial, stated she can be able to not use the function, even though it delays sufferers' care, after prosecutors argued it proved Vaught's recklessness.

"I'm now no longer going to override some thing past primary saline. I simply do not sense cushty doing it anymore," Collins stated. "When you criminalize what fitness care people do, it adjustments the complete ballgame."

Vaught's prosecution drew condemnation from nursing and clinical agencies that stated the case's risky precedent might get worse the nursing scarcity and make nurses much less impending approximately errors.

The case additionally spurred vast backlash on social media as nurses streamed the trial thru Facebook and rallied at the back of Vaught on TikTok. That outrage stimulated Friday's protest in Nashville, which drew supporters from as a long way as Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Nevada.

Among the ones protesters changed into David Peterson, a nurse who marched Thursday in Washington, D.C., to call for fitness care reforms and more secure nurse-affected person staffing ratios, then drove thru the night time to Nashville and slept in his automobile so he may want to protest Vaught's sentencing. The activities had been inherently intertwined, he stated.

"The matters being protested in Washington, practices in location due to bad staffing in hospitals, it truly is precisely what came about to RaDonda. And it places each nurse at threat each day," Peterson stated. "It's reason and impact."

Tina Vinsant, a Knoxville nurse and podcaster who prepared the Nashville protest, stated the institution had spoken with Tennessee lawmakers approximately regulation to guard nurses from crook prosecution for clinical mistakes and might pursue comparable bills "in each nation."

Vinsant stated they might pursue this marketing campaign despite the fact that Vaught changed into now no longer despatched to jail.


"She should not had been charged withinside the first location," Vinsant stated. "I need her now no longer to serve prison time, of course, however the sentence would not certainly have an effect on wherein we pass from right here."

Janis Peterson, a lately retired ICU nurse from Massachusetts, stated she attended the protest after spotting in Vaught's case the all-too-acquainted demanding situations from her very own nursing career. Peterson's worry changed into a not unusualplace chorus amongst nurses: "It might have been me."

"And if it changed into me, and I seemed out that window and noticed 1,000 folks that supported me, I'd sense better," she stated. "Because for each one of these 1,000, there are likely 10 extra who guide her however could not come."



Former Vanderbilt nurse RaDonda Vaught changed into sentenced to a few years supervised probation in a Davidson County court docket Friday after she changed into convicted of negligent murder withinside the 2017 dying of 75-12 months-antique Charlene Murphey.

Vaught’s probation is to be served with judicial diversion, which means her conviction can be brushed off following a a hit probation period.


She changed into located responsible through a jury in March on  costs. On the be counted number of reckless murder, she changed into located responsible on a lesser price of criminally negligent murder and abuse of an impaired grownup.

Vaught changed into accused of administering a deadly dose of the incorrect medicine. She admitted to the use of the incorrect medicine however pleaded now no longer responsible to the costs in 2019.

Charlene Murphey, of Gallatin, changed into expecting a fashionable experiment at Vanderbilt Medical Center in 2017 whilst she changed into killed through a deadly dose of the incorrect medicine. Investigators located Vaught changed into prepurported to administer a sedative for her comfort, however as an alternative she is accused of giving Murphy a specific medicine that reasons paralysis.

Vaught has stated she changed into “distracted” whilst she overrode a protection function at the computerized medicine dispenser, failing to trap some of crimson flags among the time she grabbed the medicine and gave it to the affected person. 

Murphey’s own circle of relatives has forgiven Vaught 4 years later, however remains trying to find peace.


“We forgive her. My mom in regulation might need her to be forgiven and prison time isn't an choice to me for her. In the beyond 4 and a 1/2 of years, our own circle of relatives has been ready and it'd had been high-quality to have heard ‘I’m sorry’ pop out of her mouth and it hasn’t,” Chandra Murphey stated from the stand.

Vaught cried at some point of lots of the testimony, apologizing to the own circle of relatives as quickly as she took the stand and reassuring them that Charlene Murphey will by no means be forgotten.

“Words alongside will by no means completely explicit the regret and sorrow for my moves withinside the awful lack of Charlene Murphey’s life,” Vaught cried.

Vaught’s case has captured country wide interest on social media with loads of lots humans following the trial complaints.


Following the verdict, the American Nurses Association launched a announcement pronouncing that the trial may want to create a precedent that might in the long run endanger sufferers if the criminalization of clinical mistakes has “a chilling impact on reporting and method improvement.”

A rally changed into held through nurses and fitness care people Friday outdoor the courthouse previous to Vaught’s sentencing, with the group looking listening to complaints on line after the rally.

Judge Jennifer Smith stated the courtroom docket acquired severa letters, calls and voicemails in terms of Vaught’s case however they can not be taken into consideration in sentencing as it'd now no longer be appropriate.

Members of Murphey’s own circle of relatives took the witness stand. Charlene’s son Michael Murphey stated “understanding my mother and the manner she changed into, she wouldn’t need to peer her get any prison time. She is a totally forgiving person. My dad might need her to get the max.”

Charlene’s daughter-in-regulation Chandra Murphey stated “we simply sense like my mom in-regulation were given misplaced in all of this,” including her own circle of relatives simply desires peace and closure.

“We forgive her and prison time isn't an choice to me for her,” stated Chandra Murphey.


Multiple nurses who labored with Vaught then took the stand to vouch for her professionalism as a nurse and nice as a friend.

Vaught then stood earlier than the courtroom docket and gave a prolonged apology to Murphey’s own circle of relatives along side her very own non-public announcement on how the case has impacted her as a nurse and a person.

“I even have misplaced a long way extra than my nursing license and career. I will by no means be the equal person. When Mrs. Murphey died, a part of me died with her,” stated Vaught.

Vaught concluded her announcement with asking the choose for leniency in her sentencing. She can by no means be hired withinside the clinical area again.

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