A Tennessee judge today sentenced a former nurse, who made a fatal drug error and was convicted of criminally negligent homicide earlier this year, to three years of probation. The former nurse received a diverted sentence so if she meets the terms of her probation the charges can be expunged from her record.
In a statement today following the sentencing, Robyn Begley, chief nursing officer for the AHA and CEO of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership, said, “We are pleased that the judge showed leniency in the sentencing of a health care professional who made a medical error. Tragic incidents that result from medical errors should not be criminalized. When errors happen hospitals and health systems need open lines of communication to identify and understand the series of events so they can update patient safety systems to further prevent errors. Criminal prosecutions will discourage health caregivers from coming forward with their mistakes and will complicate efforts to retain and recruit more people into nursing and other health care professions that are already understaffed.”