SILVER SPRING, MD-Today, a jury convicted former Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse RaDonda Vaught of criminally negligent 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 American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4.3 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org. For high-resolution images of the ANA logo or photos of ANA leadership, please click here.