[nfbwatlk] Woman blinded in attack to get $5.5 million, Seattle Times, October 8 2009

Kay Burrows theladykathryn4one at juno.com
Fri Oct 9 16:09:50 UTC 2009

It would seem that our mental health system has been letting the public down
in such tragic ways as illustrated by this story and the death of Thresa
Butz.  One has to be a Solomon to reshape how our ever shrinking dollar is
most  wisely spent for the protection of us all. I remember this woman
coming to the Seattle wine tasting party, but don't remember her coming to
any of our  meetings.  She was still very fragile  


-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Nightingale, Noel
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2009 8:54 AM
To: 'nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org'
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Woman blinded in attack to get $5.5 million, Seattle
Times, October 8 2009



Woman blinded in attack to get $5.5 million
By Charles E. Brown
Seattle Times staff reporter

A former King County health-clinic worker stabbed three years ago by a
psychotic woman will get the lion's share of a $6 million settlement from
the local nonprofit agency delegated to monitor the client's mental health.

Maritza Dowe, an administrative assistant at the Public Health - Seattle &
King County clinic on Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle, lost her eyesight
in July 2006, after she was stabbed repeatedly with a butcher knife by the
schizophrenic client who had a history of assaultive behavior.

According to Dowe's lawyers, Seattle-based Community Psychiatric Clinic
failed to properly treat client Marilyn Walker after her release from
Western State Hospital in Steilacoom. Walker had been committed for
treatment in 2001 after she became psychotic and assaulted a roommate,
attacked a police officer, and doused an H&R Block tax preparer with
gasoline in an attempt to set him on fire.

Walker had been released from Western State and was on behavior-altering
medication when she attacked Dowe at the downtown health clinic on July 17,
2006. Dowe was on the job; Walker was there for a dental appointment.

An attorney for Dowe, Jack Connelly, of Tacoma, said the attack was
unprovoked. According to Connelly, Community Psychiatric Clinic staff and
doctors had failed to review Walker's records and monitor her medication

The attack left Dowe, now 52, blind in one eye and with limited vision in
the other eye immediately after the attack. After multiple surgeries, she
lost sight in both eyes.

In a criminal trial, Walker was found not guilty by reason of insanity and
returned to Western State Hospital.

Community Psychiatric Clinic faced a civil suit by the Dowe family for

The case was scheduled to go to trial Monday in King County Superior Court
before the settlement was reached earlier this week.

Connelly said the $6 million settlement will be paid by CPC's insurance
carrier, AIG, to help cover Dowe's lost wages and medical and psychological

Included is a $500,000 award to Ramona Garza, who also worked at the
downtown health clinic at the time of the attack.

Garza's attorney, Thaddeus Martin, of Tacoma, said his client suffers severe
post-traumatic stress disorder and has been unable to work as a result of
witnessing the aftermath of the attack on Dowe.

Attorneys for Community Psychiatric Clinic could not be reached for comment.

Charles E. Brown: 206-464-2206 or cbrown at seattletimes.com

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