For Lindsey Poteet, Sept. 1, 2010, was supposed to be the day she finished a monthlong drug rehabilitation
program, giving her a fresh start to care for her 17-month-old daughter, Arwen.
Instead she lay brain-dead and on life support in a Nashville hospital bed.
The 29-year-old had checked into New Life Lodge, a residential drug rehab facility in the secluded town of Burns in Dickson County, in early August, but within weeks became very ill.
The circumstances of her death have brought an array of unanswered questions from her family and shined a spotlight on the oversight of the largest drug rehabilitation facility in the state that is also one of the largest providers of state-subsidized care and rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addicts. It treats adults and youths.
Why was Poteet, who had come down with pneumonia, placed in a van and driven 30 miles to Nashville when Horizon Medical Center was just 8 miles from the rehab center? Why was the van driven by a woman who didn’t know how to discern during a 911 call if Poteet was breathing or not?
Why did it take so long to get Poteet the proper medical help when she was at a health facility that specializes in helping people like her recover? Poteet’s autopsy said she died of combined drug toxicity, a mix of anti-depressant and therapeutic drugs. It was ruled accidental.
Addict hired as doctor
Earlier this year, New Life Lodge hired Dr. Kevin Collen as its primary physician, even though Collen had recently completed a drug rehab program in Alabama.
After failing a drug test conducted on Jan. 21, 2010, by his previous employer, Nashville-based Mental Health Cooperative, Collen admitted that he had an addiction to street-level methamphetamine and benzodiazepines for more than one year, according to records maintained by the Tennessee Department of Health.
Collen was fined $5,000, and his medical license was placed on a five-year probation.
Gaskin said she viewed Collen’s addiction struggles as an attribute and said his medical license has no restrictions.
“Dr. Collen is in recovery with monitoring, an attribute that proves invaluable when helping patients overcome their own addictions,” Gaskin said. “After all, ours is a business of rehabilitation, redemption and second chances.”
(h/t Stanton Peele via new Stinkin Thinkin reader. Thank you!)