'I will never be the same': RaDonda Vaught speaks out after sentencing

RaDonda Vaught spoke out about her criminal case for the first time last week in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

Ms. Vaught, 38, was sentenced to three years of supervised probation May 13. She was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and abuse of an impaired adult for a fatal medication error she made in December 2017 after overriding an electronic medical cabinet as a nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. The error, in which vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, was administered instead of the sedative Versed, led to the death of 75-year-old Charlene Murphey. 

"I will never be the same person," Ms. Vaught told ABC News' Eva Pilgrim for Good Morning America. "It's really hard to be happy about something without immediately feeling guilty. She could still be alive, with her family. Even with all the system errors, the nurse is the last to check."

Ms. Vaught immediately took responsibility for the medication error after it occurred but contends that her actions alone did not cause the error. Her case has spurred an outcry from nurses across the country, many of whom have expressed concerns about the likelihood of similar mistakes under increasingly difficult working conditions. 

"So many things had to line up incorrectly for this error to have happened, and my actions were not alone in that," Ms. Vaught said. 

When Ms. Pilgrim asked her if she felt like a scapegoat, Ms. Vaught said, "I think the whole world feels like I was a scapegoat."

"There's a fine line between blame and responsibility, and in healthcare, we don't blame," she said. "I'm responsible for what I failed to do. Vanderbilt is responsible for what they failed to do."

Vanderbilt University Medical Center declined ABC News' request for comment. In 2018, the hospital shared a plan of correction with CMS to address deficiencies identified in a federal investigation after the fatal error. Actions included strengthening safety measures when administering paralytic drugs, according to ABC News.

View the full interview here.

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