Born in New Jersey, Charles Cullen was the youngest of eight children. By all accounts, he had a difficult life, losing his father when he was a mere seven months old and attempting suicide nearly two dozen times.
Eventually he became a nurse who, over a 16-year period, used lethal drug injections to kill 35 to 40 patients in hospitals throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He was eventually nicknamed the “Angel of Death.”
The story of Cullen’s killing spree started in 1988. It ended when he was fired in December 2003 for lying on his employment application. The following month he was arrested and charged with murder.
How someone managed to avoid suspicion boggles many people’s mind. However, it goes to show the importance of pre-hire investigations to ensure that applicants are properly qualified and have no patterns of behavior that make them unsuitable for employment.
Cullen’s case revealed a troubled work history and unstable employment. He often worked night shifts where he was frequently unsupervised. On the few occasions when he was fired, the hospitals often gave vague reasons why. However, because of this disturbing case, health care facilities throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and in many other states adopted laws requiring health care workers to undergo background checks.
While Charles Cullen is an extreme case highlighting the importance of thorough investigations of an applicant’s criminal history, background checks on other areas such as education and employment also may reveal inconsistences that indicate additional problems.
Ultimately, the message is that past behavior predicts future actions. No employer, hospital or otherwise, is immune to problem employees. However, you can put yourself in a better position to make the right hiring decision just by contacting us. We can provide the fast, accurate, comprehensive background check, investigative screening, and verification service you need.