What happend to Vanderbilt Nurse Radonda Vaught.RaDonda Vaught an ex-nurse in Tennessee was sentenced Friday , to three months monitored probation following her conviction in March of committing an error with a medication that was fatal in the year 2017. The error led to deaths of patients who was under her care. Although she’s not being sentenced to prison however, her sentence and conviction that she received in the context of the kind of mistake that happens regularly in health facilities throughout the U.S., are a truly a travesty to justice.
It’s quite different from the events that occurred in the case of William Husel, a former Ohio physician who was cleared from murder charges in the month of April, for having accelerated the death rate of 14 seriously sick patients in his care. He ordered prescriptions for the painkiller fentanyl, which were 10 times higher than the dose typically prescribed to critically sick patients. Husel knew and with intent prescribed the excessive dosage of the medication to patients across the spectrum of in their 30s and 40s to 80s, suffering from various ailments that ranged from cancer to pneumonia.
The first thought we have in both instances is to the families that have suffered the trauma caused by these events. There is no way that reparation or jail time or settlement funds will help them to reunite with their loved ones or alleviate their hurt.
However, these two cases show the inequitable and damaging distinction between the standards by which doctors are held as well as standards that nurses are held to.
There’s no doubt that Vaught committed a serious error in giving her patient an injection of the drug vecuronium an anti-muscle relaxant, which left the woman, who was 75 years old, in a state of respiratory failure and breathe, rather than Versed which is an tranquilizer. Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in which Vaught was employed in the inpatient unit for intensive care, facilitated the safety safeguards she used in her mistake in her medication — just like many other health care systems.
However one judge her actions or the health system’s, it’s clear that the outcome was due to an mistake. Nobody could argue that Vaught purposely was attempting to harm her patient.
This contrasts with what transpired with Husel who was aware of the consequences of prescribing massive doses of Fentanyl. This wasn’t a medical error but rather a sequence of deliberate actions that he was aware would cause the deaths of patients under his care. Whatever motive prompted him to make the decision it is a fact this: it’s not in the scope of his responsibility as a doctor who has signed an oath to “do no harm,” to decide to cause the death of someone else.
The nurse who committed a serious mistake is found guilty of a crime, and could be jail time, and a doctor who made a mistake that led to the deaths of a number of patients was cleared? What’s going onwith this story? It is irrelevant if Husel’s claim was that he was easing their suffering . But we don’t know since Husel didn’t testify. It’s important to note that it wasn’t his decision to an attempt to speed up the deaths of his victims.
As Director of the Assistant Franklin County prosecutor David Zeyen said in closing arguments, “Even if their death is as certain since the sun is set to rise early in the morningtime, when you hurry to the point of death, you may have made them die according to the law. “
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We’re left wondering. Was the nurse seen as “more guilty” in light of how people view nurses? For a long time in a row, nursing has been on among the trusted professions. Do the people believe that in some way, the mistake of Vaught was more damaging to trust than the actions of an individual doctor who deliberately did harm?
The unfortunate fact is that pursuing nurses for mistakes made in the course of their duties will deter those who want to pursue nursing as a profession even though nurses in the U.S. faces a critical shortage of nurses. Most importantly to those of us who are nurses and always make mistakes -we’re sure of it that if you’re in medicine and say you’ve not made a mistake, you’re not practicing for long enough. charges will deter nurses, doctors or any other health worker, in general from making mistakes and reporting them.
Such double standards can only hinder advancements made over the last 20 years in patient safety and high-quality health care, as outlined in the Institute of Medicine in its important 1999 publication, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System.” Acquiring nurses for doing something gravely wrong versus absolving a doctor who purposely creates harm is against the purpose of establishing the environment for patient safety.