June 11, 2023
Response by Amanda Golino to “Ethics: Addressing Error: Partnership in a Just Culture” by Catherine Robichaux and Sarah Vittone (April 25, 2023).
I am writing this letter in response to the column "Ethics: Addressing Error: Partnership in a Just Culture." I hope you will consider sharing this to better clarify the distinct differences between the cases of RaDonda Vaught and DonQuenick Joppy (Beasley).
As a result of having read a great deal on the details of this case, I felt it was imperative to set the record straight. The title of your article is meant to delineate RaDonda Vaught's medical error that led to the horrific death of a patient, Charlene Murphey-"Addressing Error." Missing from this article is Ms. Murphey - she should be centered in the discussion.
Further, I wanted to clarify some key aspects of Ms. Beasley's case. Note that she now goes by her maiden name - Joppy was her married name. Unlike Ms. Vaught, Ms. Beasley is a victim of the nursing profession, specifically, of her nursing colleagues and the hospital organization she worked for. It is also noteworthy that she suffered extensive racially targeted bullying while working at a Magnet designated hospital.
Ms. Beasley was systematically targeted by white nurses in the intensive care unit where she worked and subjected to repeated attacks on her character intended to diminish her professionally including false accusation of theft, denial of additional training, physical isolation from her peers without help in her ICU, unsafe assignments, and inability to leave this unit to go to the float pool. Understanding the work conditions she experienced is essential as it underscores the events leading to false accusations of manslaughter and again differs from the well-staffed and supported clinical environment of Ms. Vaught.
As to the incident itself, there is not much to say. DonQuenick Beasley did not make an error. She had orders to provide de-escalation of care to an elderly, septic patient whose family requested a stop to life sustaining treatments. Of note, the white nurse who was the primary RN involved in this patient's care was not charged with a crime; only DonQuenick was targeted. Further, Ms. Beasley is a three time nominated Daisy nurse who also received an award from the American Heart Association for her efforts to teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in her community. Ms. Beasley feeds the unhoused and continues to care for the elderly despite the abuse and lack of support she has experienced. Another important distinction is that DonQuenick still has her nursing license, and unlike Ms. Vaught, charges against her were dismissed "in the interest of justice."
I felt it was important to share this additional insight with your readers. I agree that Ms. Beasley has not received enough support from the nursing profession, and I hope this is the beginning of much needed change. That change has to come with a reckoning from within on the issue of racism in nursing. For these reasons, I do not believe Ms. Beasley's story should be compared to Ms. Vaught's. DonQuenick Beasley committed no error other than her existing as a Black woman in a white dominated profession.
Amanda Golino, DNP, RN, CCRN, CCNS, PMGT-BC, TCRN