Free RaDonda Vaught
Updated: May 9
RaDonda Vaught, a nurse, made a mistake. As a result of her mistake, a patient died. She promptly reported the error to the hospital’s safety committee. They investigated and ruled the death an accident.
The local coroner agreed.
The Tennessee Department of Health investigated and decided that no further action was necessary.
The federal government investigated. They absolved Nurse Vaught. Their 56 page report concluded that the hospital was at fault for failing to “mitigate risks associated with medication errors.” They had concerns about a dysfunctional new electronic medical record system, about the system for storing and dispensing medications, and about attempts by the hospital to cover up the error.
Then, bizarrely and inexplicably, the County District Attorney brought criminal charges against Vaught. In March, she was convicted of gross negligence and negligent homicide.
Ms. Vaught is taking the fall for a system that wasn’t working.
Patient safety is improved when health care professionals report their mistakes, as Vaught did. Criminal prosecution will lead to reluctance to report, investigate, find root causes, and improve the system factors that lead to errors. Blaming Vaught for the hospital’s problems will make it more likely that those problems don’t get fixed. More patients might suffer.
RaDonda Vaught has made it clear that she takes accountability for her medication error. She has expressed her remorse to the patient and her family The patient’s family states the patient would not want her to be prosecuted for this mistake. She should not go to jail.
Nurse Vaught’s sentencing is scheduled for May 13.
Please sign an on-line petition asking for clemency.