Health care workers protest criminal sentencing of nurse in Tennessee trial

Hundreds of well being care workers gathered outdoors a Nashville courthouse on Friday to protest the sentencing of a former Tennessee nurse going through as much as eight years in jail for mistakenly inflicting the dying of a affected person.

RaDonda Vaught was discovered responsible in March of criminally negligent murder and gross neglect of an impaired grownup after she unintentionally administered the flawed remedy.

The most sentence is unlikely, given her lack of prior offenses. A presentencing report rated her danger of reoffending as “low.” Vaught faces three to 6 years in jail on the gross neglect conviction and one to 2 years on the criminally negligent murder conviction; so at minimal, the choose may give her a three-year suspended sentence.

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Outcry towards criminal prosecution of nurses

The proven fact that she faces any criminal penalties in any respect has turn into a rallying level for a lot of nurses who have been already fed up with poor working situations exacerbated by the pandemic. The crowd outdoors listened to the sentencing by way of loudspeakers, and cheered when some of the sufferer’s kin mentioned they would not need jail time for Vaught.

“Knowing my mom the way my mom was and stuff, she wouldn’t want to see her serve no jail time. That’s just Mom, Mom was a very forgiving person,” Michael Murphey informed the court docket.

Some have left bedside nursing for administrative positions, whereas others give up the career altogether, saying the danger of going to jail for a mistake has made nursing insupportable. Wearing purple T-shirts studying “#IAmRaDonda” and “Seeking Justice for Nurses and Patients in a BROKEN system,” they listened to speeches from different nurses and supporters.

Aleece Ellison traveled from Texas to hitch them. An emergency room nurse for 14 years, she mentioned she broke down crying when Vaught was discovered responsible.

“Never in my 14 years have I felt so helpless,” she mentioned. “This could be me.”

Ellison mentioned Friday’s final result may decide whether or not she stays in nursing. She mentioned she got here to Nashville to “let the world know that criminalizing a mistake, an honest mistake, is not a direction we want to go in.”

Janie Reed, who drove over from Memphis, mentioned she turned a nurse practitioner a number of years in the past as a result of “bedside was getting dangerous. … There were never enough nurses.”

“I usually don’t do things like this,” she mentioned of the protest. “I’m just so passionate about it. Nurses are going to go to jail and more people are going to die because they won’t report their errors.” Vaught reported her error as quickly as she realized what she had completed flawed.

The sentencing comes a day after International Nurses Day, and Jason Anderson, of Orlando, was among the many nurses coming to Nashville straight from a march for higher working situations in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

Conditions for nurses have been deteriorating for years, “but it was COVID that opened our eyes,” he mentioned.

Vaught, 38, injected the paralyzing drug vecuronium as an alternative of the sedative Versed into 75-year-old Charlene Murphey on Dec. 26, 2017. Vaught admitted making a number of errors that led to the deadly injection, however her protection legal professional argued that systemic issues at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have been not less than partly responsible.

The state’s professional witness argued at trial that Vaught violated the usual of care anticipated of nurses. In addition to grabbing the flawed medication, she did not learn the title of the drug, didn’t discover a purple warning on the highest of the remedy, and didn’t stick with the affected person to examine for an opposed response, nurse authorized guide Donna Jones mentioned.

Leanna Craft, a nurse educator on the neurological intensive care unit the place Vaught labored, testified that it was frequent for nurses at the moment to override the system in order to get medication. The hospital had lately up to date an digital data system, which led to delays in retrieving drugs. There was additionally no scanner in the imaging space for Vaught to scan the remedy towards the affected person’s ID bracelet.

The jury discovered Vaught not responsible of reckless murder. Criminally negligent murder was a lesser offense included beneath the unique cost.

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