Nashville Nurse Radonda Vaught on Trial for Giving Patient Wrong Medication in Fatal Error
Radonda Vaught was supposed to give her patient a mild sedative, but instead administered vecuronium, a powerful paralyzing agent that comes with a warning label. Vaught's defense, along with her supporters, say she made a human error.
A Tennessee nurse is on trial for mistakenly giving out the wrong medication, leading to a patient’s death.
Vaught was supposed to give her patient a mild sedative, but instead administered vecuronium, a powerful paralyzing agent that comes with a warning label.
The incident happened four years ago, but is just now going to trial.
In audio played in court, Vaught admitted to an investigator that she had been distracted.
“My mistake caused a patient, essentially, to die,” Vaught said in the tape.
But prosecutors did not mince words while arguing their case against Vaught.
“The defendant violated everything that she had ever learned,” assistant district attorney Debbie Housel said.
The defense sees it another way. While acknowledging the nurse made a “tragic mistake,” her attorney Peter Strainse said she was being scapegoated to protect the reputation of the hospital, which he claims had systemic problems that contributed to the error she made.
“The English poet Alexander Pope says, ‘To err is human and to forgive is divine.’ Quite frankly, forgiveness has been in very short supply for Radonda Vaught," Strianse said.
The patient’s family also testified about the tragic mistake.
“As I turned the corner, I saw my mother-in-law with all those people around her,” one family member said.
Fellow nurses from around the country are rallying behind Vaught to show their support.
Her coworkers say they owned up to her mistake right and away and that she has remorse over the outcome. Her arrest came as a shock to many in the nursing community.
“Nurses make errors. Every day, nurses make errors. If we are going to be tried criminally for making a human error without any ill-intent, why is anyone going to keep going into the nursing profession? We have to be supported,” one nurse said.
If convicted, Vaught faces up to 10 years in prison.
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