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RaDonda Vaught: Former Vanderbilt nurse found guilty of 2 charges in 2017 patient death

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WKRN In the 2017 death of 75-year-old Charlene Murphey, a Nashville jury found former Vanderbilt nurse RaDonda Vaught guilty of two felonies.

Vaught was found guilty of abusing a mentally ill adult. She was found guilty on a lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide after being charged with reckless homicide. Her sentencing date has been set on May 13th.

Continued Coverage of the RaDonda Vaught Case

RaDonda Vaught

Vaught talked with News 2’s Stephanie Langston earlier on Friday, before the jury reached a decision, and said she’s prepared for what’s to come. “I’m delighted we’ve finally arrived at this stage; it’s been four and a half years.” Regardless of the jury’s decision, I’m relieved to no longer have to—carry the weight of whatever the judicial system will bring, and I believe Mrs. Murphey’s family deserves closure and to be able to move on…”

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The verdict in the trial of an ex-Vanderbilt nurse has elicited mixed reactions.

Vaught was accused of giving a patient the improper prescription, which resulted in death. In 2019, she admitted to misusing drugs but pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

In 2017, Gallatin resident Charlene Murphey was waiting for a routine scan at Vanderbilt Medical Center when she was killed by a deadly dose of the wrong drug. Vaught was intended to give Murphy a sedative for her comfort, but instead gave her a different medicine that induces paralysis, according to investigators.

After an ex-Vanderbilt nurse was found guilty of the death of a patient in 2017, healthcare workers are concerned about the future.

Vaught claims she was “distracted” when she overrode a safety feature on the automatic drug dispenser, missing a number of warning signals in the period between when she grabbed the medication and when she handed it to the patient.

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Judge Jennifer Smith refused the defense’s motion for acquittal on Thursday. In addition, Vaught waived her right to testify.

Vaught sat with her head down, face the ground, during the concluding arguments. She’s been emotional all week, and she’s been sobbing a lot.

‘It took three of them and a bunch of lies for them to perform their job,’ an ex-Vanderbilt nurse says of the DA’s office.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been following the trial procedures on social media as a result of Vaught’s case. Some others flew to Nashville to show their support for her.

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On Thursday, there were more nurses in the courtroom than there had been all week, and many more were watching from across the country. Some argue that this trial should be held in a civil courtroom, and that if Vaught is found guilty, it will alter the nursing landscape, affecting everyone’s healthcare.

“This will create a precedent for everyone who engages directly with the public,” Knoxville nurse Tina Vinsant said on Tuesday. “If you make a mistake, it might cost someone their life or major bodily harm.”

The American Nurses Association issued a statement on Wednesday warning that the trial could set a precedent that puts patients at risk if the criminalization of medical errors has a “chilling impact on reporting and process improvement.”

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