Tuesday, March 16, 2010
When Nurse Charles Cullen admitted to killing 29 of his patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you would think Pennsylvania authorities would get serious about screening procedures.
Just four years after Cullen's arrest, another murderous nurse slipped into the area's nursing ranks.
Joseph A. Mannino killed a friend by injecting a lethal dose of medicine into a system. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was apparently attempting to treat his friend's headache.
After receiving his nursing degree, he began working at Lehigh Valley Hospital until authorities there fired him in 2008 after discovering "he had not revealed on his application for employment that he had been convicted of a felony in North Carolina."
Mannino told the nursing board he couldn't get a job due to the felony conviction, so he simply stopped revealing it "out of frustration."
According to the order that revoked Mannino's Pennsylvania nursing license, "when he applied to nursing school, a criminal background check failed to reveal his conviction in North Carolina and he testified that he then believed it was in the past and was no longer relevant."
The nursing school Mannino attending, St. Luke's, began doing national criminal background checks on all students in 2008, a year after Mannino graduated - at the top of his class.
Since 2001, St. Luke's checked criminal records through the state police, who only look for offenses in Pennsylvania. Only those students who had lived in Pennsylvania less than two years were checked at a national level.
Though Mannino was fired once knowledge of his criminal past came to light, there were no complaints against him, and there is nothing in his patient care records to raise any flags. "He was dismissed for lying on his application. His work here was satisfactory and we have no cause of concerns based on his work."