Death from accidental injection of wrong medicine: Former nurse in trial

Nashville, Tennessee (AP) —

A former Tennessee nurse’s lawyer, who was tried for the death of a patient who was accidentally injected with a drug, told a jury on Tuesday that the woman was accused of systemic problems at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

RaDonda Vaught, 37, was accused of reckless murder on December 26, 2017, by administering vecuronium to 75-year-old Charlene Murphey instead of the sedative Versed.

Murphy was hospitalized two days ago after developing a headache and losing sight in one eye. According to her testimony, on the 26th, her doctor ordered a PET scan to check for her cancer, but Murphy was claustrophobic and asked for medicine to control her anxiety.

Vaught was listed under the common name Midazolam, so Versed could not be found in the automated drug dispensing cabinet. According to court records, instead she used the override mechanism to type “VE” and then grabbed Bechromium. After Vaught injected the drug, she left the imaging area, but a few minutes later another employee noticed that Murphey had stopped responding.

The family removed the woman from life support early on December 27th.

Nashville District Attorney General Debbie Hausle said in an opening statement Tuesday that the nurse ignored the drug warning label and was unaware that the drug she chose was significantly different from the one she needed.

“Radonda Vort recklessly ignored everything he learned at school,” the prosecutor said, and administered vecuronium, which is sometimes used to execute prisoners.

“Vecuronium is given only when someone is intubated to paralyze the body,” Houssel said. “A person cannot breathe, move, or shout for help.”

In addition to overriding, Vaught was also unable to scan the drug against the patient’s medical identification bracelet, Housel said. She added that the medicine she chose was not a liquid, but a powder that had to be reconstituted.

Attorney Peter Strians told the jury that the hospital had at least partially condemned Murphy’s death.

He said in 2017 that a problem with the new electronic recording system delayed communication between pharmacies and hospital automatic drug dispensing cabinets. This often forced nurses to disable the system, he said. Also, there was no medication scanner in the image area of ​​the hospital where the accident occurred.

Vaught acknowledged her mistake as soon as she noticed, and the state medical committee initially took no action against her. According to Strianse, pointing was only started after the Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers recognized the error and performed a surprising test at Vanderbild.

“This was a musical chairs game and a high stakes game for criticism,” Strianse said. “When the music stopped, there was no RaDonda Vaught chair.”

It was Murphy’s daughter-in-law, Chandra Murphy, who testified on Tuesday. She cried as she remembered the last days of Shirley Murphy.

The two were preparing a Christmas dinner on December 24, 2017, when an older woman began complaining about her vision. Chandra Murphy persuaded her to go to her emergency room. There they discovered cerebral hemorrhage. Murphy was transferred to Vanderbild’s intensive care unit, but Chandra Murphy testified that she had improved before the accident.

She was in the hospital with her mother-in-law when she was taken downstairs for a PET scan. And when she was returned upstairs to her, surrounded by her doctor trying to save her life, she met her again.

“How on earth do you drop someone for a PET scan and bring her back like this?” She asked. “They basically beat her up and brought her back to death.”