What would you, as a manager, do with Clifford Currie, a civilian contractor working in an Army hospital? There is a huge pile of documentation that shows he is unstable, unreliable, and hostile. There were months of reports piling up.
Army investigators reviewed more than 1,000 pages of documents, including witness statements, law enforcement case files, and email correspondence. Though some names and specific details were redacted, statements from 25 witnesses supported Blanchard’s claim that she’d warned her supervisors — and anyone else who would listen — that she felt Currie was a threat.
The hospital’s chain of command knew that Currie “exhibited erratic behavior and risk indicators,” and that he “had multiple angry outbursts, acted ominously, and actively intimidated” Blanchard, the report said.
Two weeks before the assault Blanchard said that she met with her supervisors, and pleaded: “Please, don’t leave me there as a sitting duck,” but was told to “come back with facts, not emotion,” she told Task & Purpose. “I went back to my office and I just cried, because I just felt so hopeless.”
The report noted that Currie was the subject of 53 complaints from patients between 2013 and 2016 — 31 of which occurred in 2016 while Blanchard was his supervisor. According to the report, three of the patient complaints described Currie as “being hostile.”
The military did nothing. Then Currie walked in on Katie Blanchard, poured gasoline on her, and set her on fire. It was a sudden, violent act, but there’d been obvious signs and multiple warnings that this guy was going to snap. She survived, with serious scarring and pain, and she sued the Army for needlessly putting her life in danger. Guess what happened next? They have a rule that says the military can’t be sued!
On April 18, 2019, the Army denied Blanchard’s claim for damages, citing the Feres Doctrine — a 1950 Supreme Court precedent which bars service members and their families from suing the military for injury or death brought on by their service. The claim, which Blanchard’s attorneys provided to Task & Purpose, included the names of 14 people within her chain of command who were allegedly warned by her that Currie posed a threat.
“Come back with facts, not emotion”. That sounds so familiar, the kind of thing skeptics and atheists would say all the time. Sometimes the emotions are the facts, and you have to have policies to deal with them…or you end up with women burning in their office chairs.