Woman stages protest in injury case Former nurse blinded by patient fails to settle with state; [A Edition]
Abstract (Summary)

[Paula Krauss] was blinded on Oct. 1, 1987, when a Whiting patient who had been committed for treatment of alcoholism and depression slammed her head into a wall as she tried to calm him. [Robin Waller] said a hearing will be scheduled within a month. "We can't force either her or the state to settle," Waller said, adding that he is very aware of the "terrible impact" Krauss' injuries have had on her.

Krauss had gone to the commission office on Saybrook Road expecting to have a full hearing on her claim. By 4 p.m., after a closed-door meeting between her attorney, Diane Polan, and Robin Miller, a unit supervisor for Alexsis, the company that administers the state's workers' compensation program, it was evident nothing had been resolved. Krauss was not allowed to attend the meeting.

Full Text (481  words)
(Copyright @ The Hartford Courant 1992)

Five years of frustration and anger at the state's workers' compensation and legal systems boiled over Wednesday afternoon for a former psychiatric nurse.

Paula Krauss of Old Lyme, a former psychiatric nurse at Whiting Forensic Institute who was blinded by a patient in 1987, tried to handcuff herself to a state office building to protest the way she says she's been treated.

Krauss was incensed as she left the Workers' Compensation Commission office after failing to reach a settlement she believes would fairly compensate her for her injuries.

With a metal handcuff on her right wrist and led by her guide dog, Yonder, Krauss reached out, trying to find something solid to fix the open half of the cuff to.

As she moved about outside the building, tears streaming down her face, her two sons tried to reassure her, and her doctor pleaded with her not to do it.

"It's all because I cared about a patient," Krauss said, her voice breaking.

After learning of the disturbance, Robin Waller, the workers' compensation commissioner for the 8th District, came outside and agreed to meet with Krauss in his office.

Their meeting lasted several minutes, after which Krauss left with her family.

Krauss was blinded on Oct. 1, 1987, when a Whiting patient who had been committed for treatment of alcoholism and depression slammed her head into a wall as she tried to calm him. Waller said a hearing will be scheduled within a month. "We can't force either her or the state to settle," Waller said, adding that he is very aware of the "terrible impact" Krauss' injuries have had on her.

Krauss had gone to the commission office on Saybrook Road expecting to have a full hearing on her claim. By 4 p.m., after a closed-door meeting between her attorney, Diane Polan, and Robin Miller, a unit supervisor for Alexsis, the company that administers the state's workers' compensation program, it was evident nothing had been resolved. Krauss was not allowed to attend the meeting.

Since the accident, the state, through workers' compensation, has paid $105,000 toward Krauss' medical bills, and until Oct. 1 of this year paid her $1,567 every two weeks, the equivalent of her pay at the time of the injury.

State statutes call for workers' compensation claim payments to be halved after five years. So on Oct. 1, Krauss' biweekly salary was reduced to about $784, or $392 a week.

Two years after the incident, Krauss filed a lawsuit against several psychiatrists and adminstrators at Whiting, claiming that their failure to respond to her calls for help led to her being injured.

In October 1991, Middletown Superior Court Judge Salvatore F. Arena dismissed Krauss' lawsuit after determining that she failed to substantiate the claim that the doctors' failure to respond was either willful or malicious in intent. The state Appellate Court in Hartford upheld Arena's decision in October

Indexing (document details)
People: Krauss, Paula,  Waller, Robin
Author(s): JOSEPH A. O'BRIEN JR.,  Courant Staff Writer
Dateline: MIDDLETOWN
Section: CONNECTICUT
Publication title: Hartford Courant. Hartford, Conn.: Dec 3, 1992.  pg. B.8
Source type: Newspaper
ProQuest document ID: 80170388
Text Word Count 481
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=80170388&Fmt=3&clientId=20785&RQT=309&VName=PQD