Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Jennifer Smith granted RaDonda Vaught, 38, a court diversion that will wipe her criminal record after her parole is complete, Kaiser Health News reported.
May 13 (News) – A Tennessee nurse convicted of involuntary manslaughter and abuse of an impaired patient after a drug mix-up caused the death of an elderly patient was sentenced to three years’ probation on Friday.
Vaught, who was convicted in March, had faced up to eight years in prison for the 2017 death of Charlene Murphey at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Murphey, 75, was prescribed the sedative Versed but Vaught accidentally gave her a fatal dose of the powerful paralytic Vecuronium.
The case drew nurses across the country, who turned out by the hundreds to gather outside the courthouse in support of Murphey on Friday, The Tennessean reported.
“It was like a roller coaster ride. But that was the very best result we could have hoped for today,” said Knoxville Nurse Tina Vinsant.
Libby Diaz drove two from Alabama to attend the demonstration and told The Tennessean that the nurses felt they could all have been in Vaught’s position.
The case has become a rallying cry for nurses because medical errors generally fall within the domain of state medical boards, Kaiser Health News noted. Such cases are also rarely prosecuted in criminal courts.
The judge said on Friday that Vaught was “open and honest” about her mistake and that the former nurse, who had her license revoked, had no criminal record and would not be in a position to offend again.
“I’ve lost far more than my nursing license and my career. I will never be the same person again,” Vaught told the court. “When Ms. Murphey died, a part of me died with her.”