Nurses lobby for 'RaDonda's Law'

Nurses have started lobbying for legislation to end the criminalization of medical errors, dubbed "RaDonda's Law," in the wake of former nurse RaDonda Vaught's sentencing for a fatal medication error she made in 2017. 

Tiva Vinsant, RN, an intensive care unit nurse in Tennessee, created the Nurses March for RaDonda group on Facebook after Ms. Vaught, 38, was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and abuse of an impaired adult for a fatal medication error in December 2017.  She overrode an electronic medical cabinet at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and inadvertently administered vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, instead of the sedative versed. Ms. Vaught was sentenced to three years of supervised probation May 13, and the Facebook group's name has since been changed to Nurses March for RaDonda's Law. As of June 3, the group had more than 13,000 members. 

In a May 24 post on the page, Ms. Vinsant shared information to rally those interested in supporting legislation that would protect healthcare workers from criminal charges for medical errors. Ms. Vinsant said she is working "to get legislation passed in the state of Tennessee to protect healthcare professionals for being charged criminally for making a good faith medical error while doing their job." 

Right now, the focus is on Tennessee, where Ms. Vaught was sentenced. Once legislation is potentially passed there, Ms. Vinsant said the group plans to ramp up lobbying efforts in other states, too. 

Nurses and medical groups nationwide have expressed support for Ms. Vaught throughout her case, calling for systemwide workforce and safety reforms and arguing that the criminalization of medical errors could discourage healthcare workers from reporting mistakes. 

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