Former VUMC nurse RaDonda Vaught: Trial will have 'tragic' impact on health care industry

Vaught speaks with reporters
Posted at 11:24 AM, Mar 25, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — While awaiting a Davidson County jury's decision, RaDonda Vaught, a former Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse on trial for the death of a patient, said the impact of this case on the health care industry "is going to be tragic."

She spoke with reporters while waiting to learn the verdict. After the interview, Vaught was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and gross neglect of an impaired adult charges following the 2017 death of Charlene Murphey.

Watch her full interview below. Warning, graphic language can be heard.

RaDonda Vaught speaks with reporters while awaiting verdict

Vaught said she believes no matter the outcome, this trial will have a lasting impact on those who work in health care.

"What the jury decides is going to have more of an impact on the nursing community than it’s going to have on me personally. Because I know what I’ve done and I know what I’ve taken away from her family and I know that ultimately, I know what I’m responsible for," she said. "It doesn’t matter if, you know, I’m found guilty of these charges and Judge Smith decides that I have to go serve time for this, my life will move forward but the impact it’s going to have on people in health care is going to be tragic."

Vaught accused the judge and prosecution of not having any knowledge about health care or nursing.

"They [nurses] do not deserve to be berated and drug through the mud with that ridiculous display of lies yesterday," she said. "That is what sets health care workers apart from people like them [DA's office]. We hold ourselves to a higher level of accountability than they ever will."

Vaught said she will be at peace with the result of the trial either way, but will never be at peace with what happened to Murphey.

"It's a big weight off my shoulders — but when I say weight I mean the weight of this legal process, not the weight of Ms. Murphey's life being lost. That's something that will always be with me," she said.

Family members of Murphey have stated despite what happened, they forgive Vaught, saying that's what Murphey would do. On Friday, Vaught became emotional while telling reporters that meeting Murphey's grandson allowed her to begin to heal.

"He was so incredibly nice to me. He was just the kindest person. I think it was a good reflection of the kind of person that Ms. Murphey was," she said. "He was incredibly kind. My healing process really started after that interaction with him."

Concluding the interview, the former nurse reiterated that she takes responsibility for her actions, but stated that health care professionals have to work together.

"I’m not saying I’m not responsible for my actions, not at all. I’ve been very clear with everyone I’ve spoken with — the TN Department of Health, multiple investigators. Vanderbilt, TBI. Everyone. I have not shied away from my responsibility but health care is a system. I don’t go to work in a vacuum. I work in a health care system," she said. "We have to work together, we all have an obligation to do better. I messed up, and I owned my mistakes and I will pay the price for that. But it’s not about paying a price, it’s about doing the right thing. I think that’s where the focus needs to be."