No action taken against license of ex-Vanderbilt nurse linked to fatal medication error

A former nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., being criminally prosecuted for a fatal medication error was also investigated by state health officials who said there was no reason to discipline her or take any action against her nursing license, according to The Tennessean.

RaDonda Vaught was indicted on charges of reckless homicide and impaired adult abuse earlier in February, according to a Feb. 1 announcement from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The indictment is the result a Vanderbilt patient's 2017 death. The patient was left brain dead after being accidentally given a lethal dose of a powerful, paralyzing medicine.

Ms. Vaught admitted she made "a mistake" at the hospital, but pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Peter Strianse, Ms. Vaught's attorney, said it was revealing that although his client was being criminally prosecuted, the Tennessee Department of Health, which oversees medical discipline proceedings, had not taken action against her. Mr. Strianse later gave The Tennessean a government letter confirming the department's decision.

The letter, sent in October 2018, is signed by Antoinette Welch, the director of the Tennessee Health Department's office of investigations. It thanks Ms. Vaught for cooperating with the investigation.

"After a review by the board’s consultant and a staff attorney for the Tennessee Department of Health, a decision was made that this matter did not merit further action," the letter said, adding later: "This is not a disciplinary action, and no record of it will appear in your licensure file."

The Tennessee Health Department  declined to comment to The Tennessean on the investigation of Ms. Vaught.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control: 
ANA on nurse's reckless homicide charge: Criminalizing medical errors may deter future reporting
Former Vanderbilt nurse pleads not guilty to reckless homicide in fatal medication error
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