Feb. 5, 2009 -- A California woman who recently gave birth to octuplets got $167,000 in disability payments over several years after she was injured in 1999 while employed as a psychiatric technician at a state mental hospital, records show.
Records obtained by ABC News from the California Department of Industrial Relations show that Nadya Suleman, 33, injured her lower back during what was described as a "riot" at the Metropolitan State Hospital, a mental hospital in Norwalk, Calif., where she worked from 1997 until Nov. 2008.
While Suleman attempted to restrain a patient, another patient knocked a wooden desk onto her back, the records say. She said her injuries were exacerbated by a 2001 auto accident and by her pregnancy.
She received disability payments until at least August 2008. Her employer stopped her payments in July 2001 -- but she appealed to a workers' compensation appeals board, which ruled in 2002 that she was, in fact, temporarily disabled, and the payments resumed.
Suleman became depressed as a result of the injury and was prescribed anti-depressants, the records say.
Her depression was also due, in part, she said, to "the powerful and uncontrollable emotions associated with her pregnancy--both the fear that it would end and her elation that it might be brought to fruition and she would realize her dream of having a child," a psychologist wrote after evaluating her, according to the records, which were obtained through an open records request.
She told doctors that she had three miscarriages and found it "terrifying" when she learned she might be pregnant again.
Questions and controversy have swirled around Suleman since she gave birth to the octuplets Jan. 26.
Suleman, who was released from the hospital today, had six other children before giving birth to the octuplets. Her mother has said that all 14 children were conceived through in vitro fertilization, all from the same donor.
It was unclear if Suleman is currently employed and some have questioned her ability to pay for the cost of caring for 14 children. Her mother, Angela Suleman, filed for bankruptcy in March 2008.
A Metropolitan hospital spokesman declined to comment on Suleman's employment or her reasons for leaving, citing medical privacy laws. A California Department of Mental Health spokeswoman also declined to comment.
The father of the octuplets has not yet been identified. Birth records reviewed by the Associated Press listed David Solomon as the father of Suleman's four oldest children. It is not clear what relationship, if any, he may have to Suleman.
Suleman's Workers Compensation Claims
Court records obtained by ABC News show that Suleman filed a petition in 2001 to change her name to Nadya Solomon, though it appears her name was never legally changed. Suleman listed her reason for the name change as "simplification."
Suleman had six children by the time her divorce from her ex-husband, Marcos Gutierrez, was finalized last year.
Suleman married Gutierrez in 1996 and the couple separated in 2000, according to court records. They divorced in 2008. Gutierrez could not be located for comment on Wednesday. His divorce lawyer declined to comment.
Suleman has a 2006 degree in child and adolescent development from Cal State Fullerton, and as late as spring 2008, she was studying for a master's degree in counseling, a school spokesman said.
Despite what might seem like an overwhelming number of children, and despite her family's apparent financial difficulties, Suleman is "upbeat" about her future, her spokeswoman told "Good Morning America" earlier this week.
"She's very joyful. Nadya is a very balanced and together woman," she said.