'She should still be here' Loved ones speak about patient TBI says died at hands of nurse

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FOX 17 New continues to learn more about the woman the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says died in the care of a former Vanderbilt nurse. An investigation shows Charlene Murphey recieved a powerful paralytic commonly used in executions instead of an anxiety drug in December 2017.

Murphey worked at the Gallatin Walmart for more than 20 years. It’s where friend and colleague Joanne Riker met her and the women quickly struck up a friendship.

“I wouldn't mind having her here to hug one more time,” Riker said.

Riker said she became close to Murphey after her son committed suicide at just 15-years-old.

“Sometimes you just need a good cry,” Riker said. “When I lost my son, she was one of the shoulders that I could lean on.”

She went to Murphey’s funeral more than a year ago. At the time, she didn’t know her death was because of a mistake.

“My heart breaks for the family because it shouldn't have happened. She should still be here with us. Had they given her the right medicine, she's still be here today,” a choked-up Riker said.

Instead of getting the anxiety drug, Versed, investigators say nurse Randonda Vaught overrode the system and mistakenly gave her Vecuronium, which is a paralytic that ultimately killed her. Records show Vaught became licensed in 2015 and had no history of medical discipline on her record. She no longer works at Vanderbilt. Now, she faces reckless homicide and patient abuse charges.

“I think she would have come to the point of forgiving just because that's her personality,” Riker said of her friend.

Now loved ones try to mirror her compassion as they cope with the loss.

Her family tells us she was an active member at Cottontown Baptist Church, where she was loved by many. Vaught is expected in court on February 20.

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