Nurse Who Doled Out Fatal Meds Avoids Jail Time

RaDonda Vaught gets 3 years of supervised probation for death of Charlene Murphey
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2022 6:00 AM CDT
Nurse Who Doled Out Fatal Meds Avoids Jail Time
RaDonda Vaught apologizes to the family of Charlene Murphey during her sentencing in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday.   (Nicole Hester/The Tennessean via AP, Pool)

RaDonda Vaught, the Tennessee nurse behind a fatal medicine mix-up that killed a 75-year-old woman in 2017, won't be going to prison. WTVF reports that the 38-year-old former nurse at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center was sentenced Friday to three years of supervised probation, following emotional testimony from the family of Charlene Murphey, who died as a result of Vaught's error. Vaught had been convicted in late March of criminally negligent homicide and gross neglect of an impaired adult after administering the paralyzing drug vecuronium bromide to Murphey instead of the sedative Versed before a PET scan.

The conviction could have earned Vaught up to eight years behind bars, per NPR. Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Jennifer Smith diverted Vaught's sentence, meaning that if Vaught complies with all of her probation terms, she'll have the charges scrubbed from her record at the end of her sentence, reports the Tennessean. Vaught's sentence was handed down after the court heard from Murphey's family, including her son Michael, who said his mom wouldn't have wanted any jail time for Vaught, per WZTV.

Daughter-in-law Chandra Murphey added, "We forgive her." The court also heard from Vaught herself. "I will never, ever forget my role in this," she said during her statement, per WTVF. "I let my patient down, I let myself down. ... I will never be the same person. When Ms. Murphey died, a part of me died with her." It's not yet clear if Vaught will appeal her conviction. (More nursing stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.