Statement in Response to the Conviction of Nurse RaDonda Vaught

The American Society for Health Care Risk Management (ASHRM) stands united with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) in response to the criminal verdict against Nurse RaDonda Vaught.

Robyn Begley, DNP, RN, chief nursing officer of the American Hospital Association, CEO of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, and member of ASHRM’s Executive Committee - March 29, 2022

The verdict in this tragic case will have a chilling effect on the culture of safety in health care. The Institute of Medicine’s landmark report To Err Is Human concluded that we cannot punish our way to safer medical practices. We must instead encourage nurses and physicians to report errors so we can identify strategies to make sure they don’t happen again. Criminal prosecutions for unintentional acts are the wrong approach. They discourage health caregivers from coming forward with their mistakes, and will complicate efforts to retain and recruit more people in to nursing and other health care professions that are already understaffed and strained by years of caring for patients during the pandemic.