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"A backward step for patient safety": US Medical groups respond to RaDonda Vaught sentencing

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RaDonda Vaught was sentenced to three years of supervised probation on the 13 May for a fatal medication error she made in 2017 while working as a nurse at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the USA.

In remarks made during the sentencing hearing, Ms. Vaught expressed concerns over what her case means for clinicians and patient safety reporting. 

"This sentencing is bound to have an effect on how [nurses] proceed both in reporting medical errors, medication errors, raising concerns if they see something they feel needs to be brought to someone's attention," she said. "I worry this is going to have a deep impact on patient safety." 

Numerous medical organisations expressed similar concerns in statements circulated after Ms. Vaught's sentencing. 

"To achieve our goal of zero patient harm and death from preventable medical errors, we need to foster a culture where leadership of hospitals and healthcare organizations support healthcare workers and encourage them to share near misses," the Patient Safety Movement Foundation said in a statement. "Healthcare workers are human and healthcare systems need to ensure there are appropriate processes in place to provide their staff with a safe and reliable working environment so they can provide their patients with the best care. Only by identifying potential problems and learning from them can change occur."

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Source: Becker's Hospital Review, 16 May 2022

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