Nurse accused of fatal drug swap pleads not guilty

A Tennessee nurse accused of reckless homicide after a medication error killed a patient pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Nashville hearing room filled with other nurses coming to show their support .

The mistake occurred at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in December 2017 when RaDonda Vaught injected 75-year-old Charlene Murphey with paralytic vecuronium instead of sedative Versed.

Vaught, 35, could not find Versed in an automatic binder. She then used a surrogate mechanism to type "VE" and then took the first drug that was evoked, according to court papers and a report from the Centers for Medicare. and Medicaid services.

S addressing reporters after Wednesday's hearing, Vaught's lawyer, Peter Strianse, called the criminal charge against the nurse "completely unfathomable". He noted that the State Nursing Council had taken no action against Vaught's nurse's license, which is still active.

"This creates a terrible precedent, and these nurses are here today because it is patently unfair to accuse a nurse of a criminal offense for something that was nothing." any other than an error, "said Strianse.

Vaught did not want to discuss the case, but several other nurses and herself tore themselves apart while she was talking about the "overwhelming" support that she received.

"I am very grateful to have chosen a job with such generous and loving people," Vaught said. Online supporters donated more than $ 72,000 for legal bills.

Janie Harvey Garner leads the Nurses' Online Advocacy Organization, Show Me Your Stethoscope. She organized support for Vaught and came from St. Louis for the hearing.

Garner said that medication errors occur all the time but the public is generally unaware of them. And she said nurses do not take mistakes lightly.

"RaDonda must get up every day and think about what happened," Garner said. "At the beginning of my career, I made a small mistake.Nobody was hurt.But whenever I think about it, I'm sweating."

Garner said that she thought Murphey's death was terrible and tragic. But she fears that Vaught's lawsuits will hurt patient safety.

"This will cause people death, because people will not present their mistakes," said Garner.

The Nashville attorney's office refused to talk about the decision to accuse Vaught, but a spokesman sent reporters a document stating the definition of "reckless" in the Tennessee code.

It states that driving is considered reckless when a person neglects a significant risk in a manner that "constitutes a clear departure from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise."

Nurse Marguerite McBride attended the Wednesday hearing and said she had been working with her at another hospital for about a year.

"She is an incredible nurse, compassionate and caring," said McBride. "Families like it.The other nurses love it."


This story was modified to correct the spelling of the nurse's first name in raDonda and to correct the reckless homicide charge.

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