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RaDonda Vaught: how to move forward?

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By: Timir Banerjee, Clinical professor of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville

To The Editor:

I felt compelled to write about the verdict on RaDonda Vaught, RN, after she had made a medication error. I feel that the jurors failed to understand the difference between a genuine error from criminal neglect and/or intent.I have been a doctor for fifty-five years. I have admired the nursing profession and I have seen nurses work under most trying circumstances. The message from the verdict will be chilling to a profession that is possibly most trusted and respected. Mistakes can happen (of course they shouldn’t) in any situation, particularly when there are drugs with similar sounding names and letters (in this case Vecuronium instead of Versed) and for the prosecutors to proceed with such a harsh verdict is inconceivable to me. My wife, a nurse, had received a tetanus shot by mistake instead of TB test antigen and that caused sloughing of the skin. I had suggested that placing drugs with similar letters be placed in different locations to avoid such mistakes.I suggest that the community of Vanderbilt University revolt against such judgment and restore the spirit of admiration and humanity to the nursing profession and to her. I always remember that I did not get 100% in my courses during examinations and there is always a margin of error and I am human.

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