Op-Ed: Ex-Nurse Convicted in Patient’s Death-Could This Set a Worrisome Precedent for All Nurses?

Why would anybody in their right mind want to become a nurse now?

Rick Martinez

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Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

That was the question my wife asked me after hearing the verdict in this case.

Why would I want to continue being a nurse from this point forward? That was what I said back to her.

We were talking about this: “A jury on Friday convicted former Nashville nurse RaDonda Vaught of criminally negligent homicide and abuse of an impaired adult after a medication error contributed to the death of a patient in 2017”, reported The Tennessean.

My wife and I are both nurses. We both hold registered nursing (RN) licenses and have a combined 50 years of practice and experience between us. We’ve never heard of this happening in our half-century of caregiving before.

Not once, ever.

The conscious world already knows that nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system. We are responsible for providing care to patients and often work long hours under challenging conditions. This was all made apparent as COVID ravaged our healthcare systems and the spirit of nurses across the US.

In between fatigue, patients dying, and lack of support from leadership, many nurses chose alternate career fields.

In light of this, it is essential that nurses feel safe reporting errors they make while caring for patients. Unfortunately, this recent verdict may have sent the wrong message to nurses across the country. And as a nurse myself, I have to agree.

Ex nurse, RaDonda Vaught, was recently convicted of two felonies in the death of her patient.

The patient was supposed to get a drug called Versed, a sedative often used to relax or calm patients. The drug was set to be administered to her before a procedure. However, Vaught removed the wrong med, vecuronium, instead. Vecuronium, or “vec,” is a powerful paralyzing drug that eventually stopped the patient’s breathing and caused brain death before the medication error was discovered.

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Rick Martinez

My journey began on food stamps • I help CEOs & entrepreneurs write & publish books that give them authority & legacy • Former CEO turned ghostwriter