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Psychological damage: IHI on criminalization of medical error

Update: On May 13, Vaught was sentenced to three years probation 

The tragedy of medical errors is twofold—that a caregiver unintentionally harms someone they were trying to help, and that the error is usually preventable. When an error costs someone’s life, the first response is typically to assign blame and punishment. March 25 gave us a clear example of this. That’s when former nurse RaDonda Vaught was convicted of gross neglect of an impaired adult and negligent homicide in Tennessee. In 2017, Vaught mistakenly gave an elderly patient a paralyzing medication instead of a sedative, resulting in the patient’s death. The investigation found that Vaught overlooked several warning signs, and she now faces up to eight years in prison.

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