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Nurse charged with deadly drug-swap error pleads not guilty



A Tennessee nurse charged with no persecution of homicide after an error in the killing of a patient pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Nashville room packed with other nurses who came from scrubs to show their support.

The error occurred at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in December 2017 when RaDonda Vaught injected 75-year-old Charlene Murphey into paralysis of vecuronium instead of the sedative Versed.

The 35-year-old Vaught did not find Versed in an automatic dispensing cabinet, so he used an override mechanism to type "VE" after taking the first drug that came up, according to the court papers and a report from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Speaking to reporters after hearing on Wednesday, Vaught's lawyer, Peter Strianse, called the criminal charge against the nurse "absolutely not penetrate. " He said that state nursing board did not act against Vught's license care, which is still active.

"It sets a terrible precedent, and these nurses are here today because it's fairly unfair to charge a nurse with a criminal offense for something else but a mistake, "says Strianse.

Vaught should not discuss the case, but he and some of the other nurses tears as he mentions the "great support" he has received.

"I'm so grateful I've taken a profession with such generous, loving people," says Vaught. Online supporters donate more than $ 72,000 for his legal bills.

Janie Harvey Garner runs the online organization of promoting the nurse of the Show Me Your Stethoscope. He organizes support for the Vaught and flies from St. Louis for the hearing.

Garner said that treatment errors occur all the time but often the public does not know them. And he said that nurses are not mistaken.

"RaDonda needs to wake up every day and think about what happened," Garner says. "I, early in my career, made a minor mistake. No one was hurt. But every time I thought about it, I was sweat."

Garner said he believed that Murphey's death was terrible and tragic. But he worried about the persecution of Vaught eventually hurt the patient's safety.

"This is the reason that people die, because people will not come before their mistakes," Garner says.

The Nashville district attorney's office has refused to talk about the decision to charge the money, but a spokesperson has sent reporter a document showing the "reckless" meaning of the Tennessee code.

It reads, in part, that this behavior is considered to be reckless when a person neglects a great deal of risk in a way that "is a major deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person will exercise. "

Nurse Marguerite McBride was on Wednesday's hearing to support Vaught and said he had been working with other hospitals for a year.

"She is a wonderful, compassionate, loving nurse," McBride says. "Families love him."

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This story has been edited to correct the spelling of the first name of the nurse at RaDonda and correct the charge of the reckless homicide.


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