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Former Tennessee Nurse Convicted of Lesser Charge for Killing Elderly Patient by Giving Her Wrong Medication


Jurors convicted a former nurse of killing an elderly patient.

RaDonda Vaught, 38, gave Charlene Murphey, 75, the wrong medication in the 2017 incident. The defense construed this as an honest mistake, and that systematic errors contributed to the death, according to NPR. She was made out to be a “scapegoat,” said attorney Peter Strianse. But a safety officer of the hospital Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, testified that technical problems got fixed weeks before Murphey’s death.

Prosecutors maintained Vaught ignored warning signs in giving Murphey a paralytic medication instead of a sedative for comfort.

“The immutable fact of this case is that Charlene Murphey is dead because RaDonda Vaught could not bother to pay attention to what she was doing,” Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Chad Jackson said.

Jurors convicted Vaught of abuse of an impaired adult as charged, but chose the lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide instead of the original reckless homicide, according to WDAF.

Sentencing is set for May 13.

The American Nurses Association, articulating a stance common among Vaught’s supporters, reportedly argued that the trial could have a “chilling effect on reporting and process improvement.”

The Davidson County District Attorney’s Office pushed back on that sentiment, saying multiple jurors worked in the healthcare field and that they determined Vaught’s actions went over the line.

“The jury’s conviction of Radonda Vaught was not an indictment against the nursing profession or the medical community,” prosecutors said Saturday, according to WSMV. “This case was and always has been about the gross neglect by Radonda Vaught that caused the death of Charlene Murphey. This was not a ‘singular’ or ‘momentary’ mistake.”

Speaking before the verdict, Vaught said she welcomed the end of case.

“I’m glad that we’ve come to this point, it’s been 4 and a half years,” she told WKRN. “Regardless of the jury’s verdict, I’m just glad to not have to—carry around the weight of whatever is going to happen with the justice system anymore and I think Mrs. Murphey’s family deserves closure and to be able to move forward from this too, so we will just see what they have to say.”

[Screenshot via WTVF]

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