The Tennessee Board of Nursing in an emergency action has suspended the license of a home health nurse who continued working after being indicted on charges of beating a semi-comatose quadriplegic patient.
Dwight Cullen, of Gallatin, was working for Maxim Home Healthcare when the board took the action last month, according to the suspension order.
The alleged beating occurred in February after Cullen failed to secure his patient in a harness while attempting to put the man in his wheelchair, the order states, describing how the nurse then fell on top of him, hit his head into the wheel of his wheelchair numerous times and then dragged him across the floor by one leg.
The patient's feeding tube and urinary catheter became dislodged in the process, causing him to bleed. Cullen then attempted to reinsert both tubes, without wearing gloves or using sterile gauze, and tried to put the feeding tube in upside down, the order said.
Although Cullen was indicted by a grand jury in Sumner County, he was employed at Maxim Home Healthcare providing care to another quadriplegic patient when the board took the action, the order states.
Maxim Home Healthcare did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The board took the action based upon the testimony of Department of Health Investigator Marcelena Sutton-Owens and Detective Les Carlisle of the Goodlettsville Police Department as well as photographs of the patient and documents from the police department and Tennessee Adult Protective Services.
Cullen has been a licensed practical nurse in Tennessee since 1992.
Reach Tom Wilemon at 615-726-5961 and on Twitter @TomWilemon.