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February 25, 1994


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Alexander P. White, Judge, Presiding.

Slater, McCULLOUGH, Rakowski, Woodward, Rarick

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Slater

JUSTICE SLATER delivered the opinion of the court:

The claimant, Ella L. Daniels, brought a workers' compensation claim against the employer, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, alleging that on March 24, 1985, she suffered an injury in the course of and arising out of her employment. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the claimant. The Industrial Commission (Commission) affirmed the arbitrator, and the circuit court confirmed the Commission. The employer appeals.

In March of 1985 claimant was employed by Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center as a dietary supervisor. At approximately 7:30 p.m. on March 24, 1985, she took the elevator from the seventh floor to the basement to get to the kitchen. When she got off the elevator, she was grabbed by two men. They held a knife to her neck and threatened to kill her. They then took her to a nearby stairway between the first and second floors. After taking a personal check from her with her name and address on it, they tied her hands, taped her mouth, and threatened to kill her and her family. The men repeatedly orally, vaginally and anally raped her during the course of the next two hours. Claimant was then left tied up in the stairway until she was ultimately found the following morning by a hospital visitor at approximately 8:00 a.m.

Claimant was taken to the emergency room and later transferred to the Sheridan Road Psychiatric Facility. At first, she was unable to talk and was afraid to be around people. After some time, she was able to speak and gave a description of the men who had attacked her. To her knowledge, the men have never been apprehended.

After leaving the psychiatric facility, claimant stayed at home in her room all day. She was nervous and did not allow her teenage daughters to go to school for a while. At night she had nightmares of the rape and by day she had flashbacks. She was afraid to leave her house by herself. She was eventually able to go out of her house with family members, but she remained fearful. Prior to the attack, claimant had never had any psychiatric treatment.

In April of 1985, claimant began seeing Dr. Milton Daugherty, who put her on medication for depression and anxiety. The medication helped, and she was still on antidepressant medication at the time of arbitration.

In 1986, claimant started feeling a little better and was able to go out and perform some activities on her own. She wanted to go back to work, but she did not want to return to work in the building inwhich she had been raped because she remained frightened. In July of 1986, claimant's husband was disabled by a stroke. He was still disabled at the time of arbitration.

In August of 1986, claimant began working as a dietary supervisor at Gottlieb Hospital in Melrose Park. After working there for a while, she became more nervous. When she walked the halls and stairways she started having flashbacks. Sometimes, when she worked late, she would be afraid to leave the building. She took medication to help overcome her nerves, but sometimes she took too much and would become depressed.

During the summer of 1987, a close friend of claimant who had trained her and worked with her at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's was murdered. The claimant thought that her friend had been killed by the same men who had attacked her. Thereafter, claimant again began having dreams about her assault. She was unable to sleep or concentrate and she continued to have hallucinations. In October of 1987, claimant stopped working at Gottlieb Hospital. Her job was kept open while she stayed home for two months and took various anti-depressive medications. In December of 1987, the claimant was contacted by her supervisor. At that time, claimant officially quit her job at Gottlieb Hospital.

Claimant remained off work until she began feeling better in March of 1988. At that time, she began working part-time for Multitek in Melrose Park. In July of 1988 she started working there full-time. At first, she worked in a small space away from a lot of people and did well. However, as she was asked to be around more people, particularly strangers, she began to get nervous. Then, in the fall of 1988, she heard about a lady that was raped on an elevated train platform. Once again, claimant began having dreams and flashbacks about her assault. Dr. Daugherty prescribed additional medication. She was unable to sleep or get out of bed. Her job was held open for two months, but she was unable to go back to it.

Since leaving Multitek in October of 1988, claimant has not looked for work. She felt she could not perform a job since she gets too nervous around people. Dr. Daugherty has never released her to return to work. She continues to receive medication for anxiety and depression, and she still undergoes psychiatric treatment. Additionally, she still has dreams and flashbacks about her assault. She is able to visit friends and relatives but is unable to deal with strangers.

Chicago Police Detective Patrick Foley testified that on March 25, 1985, he was assigned to investigate a rape at the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center. Claimant was the rape victim. The rape took place in the southwest stairwell of the Women's CancerTreatment Center, near the kitchen and the morgue. Foley stated that this was an area more frequented by employees than by visitors. Foley also indicated that the claimant was wearing a white hospital uniform at the time of the attack. Detective Foley ...

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