Tennessee nursing board pulls license of former Vanderbilt nurse over fatal drug error

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The Tennessee Board of Nursing stripped a former nurse at Nashville-based Vanderbilt University Medical Center of her license during a July 23 disciplinary hearing linked to her administering a fatal dose of medicine to a 75-year-old patient in 2017, the Tennesean reports. 

The nurse, Radonda Leanne Vaught, was indicted on charges of reckless homicide and impaired adult abuse in 2019 and has a criminal trial set for next year. 

Four details: 

1. Ms. Vaught, who has pleaded guilty on all charges, is accused of accidentally injecting the 75-year-old patient in 2017 with vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer intended to keep patients still during surgery. The patient was supposed to receive a routine sedative. Vanderbilt fired Ms. Vaught in January 2018. 

2. The patient suffered cardiac arrest and died a day after being taken off a breathing machine. 

3. During the July 23 medical disciplinary meeting, the nurse said Vanderbilt encouraged nurses to override safeguards on medication cabinets due to a computer program, which she says contributed to the error. "Overriding was something we did as part of our practice every day," Ms. Vaught said. "You couldn't get a bag of fluids for a patient without using an override function." 


4. Vanderbilt declined to comment on the allegations made by Ms. Vaught and her attorney, according to the Tennessean

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