Mental health officials say Vinita shooting an isolated incident

Tuesday, November 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Last month's shooting of a Vinita nurse by a mentally ill man was an isolated incident and not the result of the downsizing of Eastern State Hospital, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has concluded.

Gov. Frank Keating requested a ``full-scale review'' and said Monday he accepted the report's conclusions and would no longer pursue the matter.

``The whole thing is ghastly and unfortunate, but I'm happy that the department has no questions among the professionals about how it was handled,'' Keating said.

The Oct. 6 shooting raised many questions about the mental health system and the downsizing of Eastern State.

Ricky Martin, a paranoid schizophrenic, burst into the emergency room at Craig General Hospital and shot six rounds into DeAnna Dorsey, a nurse there. Vinita police killed Martin in the hospital parking lot minutes later.

Barbara Hodges, the Craig General Hospital administrator who drew attention to the shooting in a letter to Keating, said she was disappointed in the report.

Hodges said she believes the investigation wasn't as thorough as it should have been and said she would have liked for another department to have conducted the investigation.

``I wanted them (the state) to come up with a goal for them to attain so this wouldn't happen again, whether it was isolated or not,'' Hodges said. ``Now it doesn't sound like anything will come out of this.''

Martin reportedly went to Eastern State whenever his medication wasn't working.

The Mental Health Department concluded in its review that services were in place and available for persons who do not meet criteria for inpatient treatment.

``Additionally, if a person does meet criteria for inpatient treatment, those services are available as well despite the downsizing of Eastern,'' the report said.

The last word Martin's family had was that he was living temporarily at the YMCA in Tulsa and was getting help from a case worker at Parkside Hospital, also in Tulsa. The family said a nurse was giving Martin shots for his medication on an outpatient basis.

``This individual was given the best possible care throughout the process,'' Keating said. ``Sometimes it doesn't work.''

Hodges said she remains convinced the system failed Martin.

``He was cared for in Tulsa and nobody over there knew where he was,'' she said. ``Those of us in Vinita are still looking at solutions for factual problems we all seem to encounter here.''