Tennessee Nurse Overrides Medication System and Leaves Patient with Deadly Paralysis

Sharee B.

A Tennessee-based nurse, RaDonda Vaught, was caring for a patient one day when the time came to administer medication in preparation for an MRI procedure.

However, when it came time to administer the patient's medication, for the purposes of making her more comfortable throughout the procedure, she ultimately made a decision that would permanently change the course of her patients' life.

Vaught, who was utilizing an electronic medication dispenser system, in which she was looking for a calming agent called Versed. Of her own accord, she mistakenly selected a paralyzing medication, generically known as Vercuronium, with the brand name of Norcuron.

According to reports, the electronic system required several emergency warnings due to the severity of the medication being taken out, which the nurse bypassed as well as the warning directly on the label, which instructed the powder to be mixed for the correct concentration.

Unfortunately, her patient, a 75-year-old elderly woman, was considered brain dead within minutes of the medication being given, and the mistake caused the elderly patient her life.

Vaught, who was originally arrested in 2019, admitted at her hearing with the nursing board, that she had overlooked the warnings as she had become complacent with the day-to-day actions of her job and failed to take the necessary precautions.

"I know the reason this patient is no longer here is because of me. "There won't ever be a day that goes by that I don't think about what I did." - RaDonda Vaught

In the end, she was convicted of criminally negligent homicide in a Tennessee courtroom, which sets a precedent in the medical field, where professionals are understaffed, overworked and thousands of mistakes each year go unreported.

In light of the conviction, nurses around the country have shown their support for Vaught, including a group called "Show me Your Stethoscope", comprised of more than 600,000 nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals. In addition, the American Nursing Association has also stated its concerns with nurses self criminalizing for reporting mistakes.

For the patients family, they lost a loved one too soon for a fatal medical error that didn't have to happen.

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