A patient in a vegetative state for 14 years gave birth last week — and now, police are investigating possible sexual abuse
A patient at a nursing facility in Phoenix gave birth to a healthy baby boy last week despite having been in a vegetative state for the last 14 years. Now, police are involved to find out the horrid details of how this woman, clearly unable to consent, was able to become pregnant.
It was on December 29th that the unnamed patient gave birth at the Hacienda HealthCare facility. CBS News reports that a near-drowning incident years ago left the woman in a vegetative state, and she’s been cared for at the facility ever since the accident.
A source tells CBS, “None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth.” They explain that they only knew the woman was giving birth because she was “moaning.” “There was a nurse that was there, and from what I’ve heard she’s the one that delivered the baby,” they said.
When asked by the CBS reporter if the woman had any way of defending herself, they said, “No. None whatsoever. Not even able to communicate the fact that she was pregnant.”
The source says the patient’s pregnancy has been the reason for a new rule at the nursing facility meant to protect patients. “I was told that as of now, if a male staff needs to enter a female room, they need to bring in a female employee with them.”
Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said “the matter is currently under investigation.”
A spokesperson for the facility tells CBS, “Hacienda Healthcare has been in business in the valley for over 50 years, and has an outstanding reputation providing high quality specialized care for our patients. As a Healthcare provider, we cannot comment on any patient due to Federal and State privacy laws. Additionally, we cannot comment on any ongoing investigations. We can say that our patients’ and clients’ health and safety is our No. 1 priority and that we always cooperate, when asked by any agency, in an open and transparent way.”
The Arizona Department of Economic Security, in conjunction with Phoenix police, have done welfare checks on all patients at the facility. The police department also released a statement:
“We are aware of this situation and are actively working with local law enforcement in their criminal investigation,” it said. “Upon learning of the allegation, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) immediately initiated an onsite complaint investigation to ensure the health and safety of the patients and ensure the facility is in compliance with all state laws and regulations. During this time, the agency has required heightened safety measures be implemented at the facility including increased staff presence during patient interactions, increased monitoring of the patient care areas, and increased security measures with respect to visitors at the facility.”
It’s stomach-turning to think of the chain of events that led to this woman becoming pregnant, and mind-boggling that no one at the facility noticed her condition until she went into labor. Hopefully, the police investigation is thorough into exactly how this attack happened — and justice is served.