Statement in Response to the Conviction of Nurse RaDonda Vaught
Last week a jury convicted former Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse RaDonda Vaught of reckless homicide and impaired adult abuse after she mistakenly administered the wrong medication that killed a patient in 2017. The following statement is attributable to both the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the Tennessee Nurses Association (TNA):
"We are deeply distressed by this verdict and the harmful ramifications of criminalizing the honest reporting of mistakes.
Health care delivery is highly complex. It is inevitable that mistakes will happen, and systems will fail. It is completely unrealistic to think otherwise. The criminalization of medical errors is unnerving, and this verdict sets into motion a dangerous precedent. There are more effective and just mechanisms to examine errors, establish system improvements and take corrective action. The non-intentional acts of Individual nurses like RaDonda Vaught should not be criminalized to ensure patient safety.
The nursing profession is already extremely short-staffed, strained and facing immense pressure – an unfortunate multi-year trend that was further exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic. This ruling will have a long-lasting negative impact on the profession.
Like many nurses who have been monitoring this case closely, we were hopeful for a different outcome. It is a sad day for all of those who are involved, and the families impacted by this tragedy."
The official statement can be accessed here.