May 12, 2022

A message from Dr. Jeff Balser, President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of the School of Medicine

Dear VUMC colleagues,

Jeff Balser, MD, PhD

Tomorrow’s sentencing of a former VUMC nurse marks another episode in a challenging time. Over the past several weeks we’ve observed a court trial involving a series of tragic mistakes. And we’ve borne witness to the suffering experienced by the patient’s family. While none of us at VUMC control the determinations of our courts, there are things we do control – and that’s how we respond as a medical center.  And we are tremendously proud of our nurses and the care they provide every day to our patients.

The experience is a poignant reminder that no matter how sophisticated our systems and protocols are for patient safety, all systems are fallible. So over the four years since this event, we’ve looked carefully at what occurred to even further reduce the potential for this kind of incident. Our goal for patient safety is not a low rate of errors – it’s nothing short of zero errors. Safety is a continuous journey, not an event – and it requires relentless attention, effort and commitment. We must all never stop looking for ways to prevent tragedies like this.

VUMC has a world renowned culture of safety, which means we continually learn from one another and from the experiences we encounter. Our leaders are committed to assure everyone working at VUMC always feels encouraged and supported to voice concerns – and to ensure those concerns are addressed. We are committed to partnering with every employee on that safety journey.


Jeff Balser, MD, PhD

President and CEO, VUMC

Dean, Vanderbilt School of Medicine