Doctor: Injuries point to abuse


Herald Writer

An Everett emergency room doctor testified Tuesday that a woman allegedly abused by her husband on a sailboat for years had "some of the most severe injuries" she’s seen in 25 years of treating trauma.

Dr. Cynthia Markus told a Snohomish County Superior Court jury that she supervised treatment for Linda David, 52, when the woman was brought to Providence General Medical Center after being removed from a filthy sailboat moored off Everett in 1997.

Linda David’s face was covered with scars, her ears were cauliflowered, her arms were contorted by untreated fractures and her eyes were rendered virtually blind. Prosecutors have charged her husband, Victor David, 60, with second-degree assault, alleging that he hid the woman away, battering her repeatedly.

Markus testified she believes Linda David’s injuries are "consistent with a long-standing pattern of abuse."

But under vigorous questioning by Victor David’s attorney, Bryan Hershman of Tacoma, the doctor also acknowledged that she was unable to tell when many of those injuries may have occurred.

Markus also testified that she hadn’t seen until Tuesday, a medical report showing that Linda David had in 1979 many of the symptoms she found in 1997.

Among other things, the 1979 report, presented by Hershman, showed Linda David had scars and bruises on her face, an apparent broken nose and some type of neurological disorder that slurred her speech and required her to use a walker to maintain balance.

The report also shows that Linda David did not know her own age during the 1979 exam, which occurred about three years after her marriage to Victor David, and 14 years before prosecutors allege Linda David suffered the injuries her husband is now charged with deliberately inflicting.

Under questioning by Hershman, Markus said she can’t rule out the possibility that Linda David suffered her injuries from accidental falls, but she termed that "unlikely."

She also said the injures can’t be explained by neglect.

"It’s just hard for me to imagine anything constituting neglect causing broken bones," Markus testified.

Victor David had been paid $500 a month by the state Department of Social and Health Services to care for his wife, whom he said was suffering from multiple sclerosis. She was removed from the boat after a state official went to check on her welfare while the vessel was docked in Everett. The couple for most of their marriage lived on the Tacoma waterfront.

Linda David now lives in a south Snohomish County nursing home. She has been cleared as a witness for her husband’s trial but has given conflicting statements on whether he is responsible for her injuries.

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