Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Police investigate after United States woman in coma gives birth at nursing home

Police investigate after United States woman in coma gives birth at nursing home

Last month the woman gave birth to a baby boy at the Hacienda HealthCare centre in Phoenix, Arizona, in the US The woman has been in a "vegetative state" for fourteen years after almost drowning.

The case has drawn outcry from the governor to the San Carlos Apache tribe in southeastern Arizona, of which the 29-year-old victim is an enrolled member, and put the spotlight on the safety of group homes and facilities that care for those who are incapacitated or severely disabled.

Police said the infant was not breathing when they were called into the facility, though both mother and child are now recovering in a local hospital.

Hacienda officials have called the situation "a deeply disturbing incident" and said they are cooperating with law enforcement and state agencies.

Phoenix police are pursuing DNA samples from every male employee at a private care facility where a patient in a vegetative state recently gave birth.

David Leibowitz, a spokesman for Hacienda Healthcare, said Tuesday that it welcomed the action by police and had considered conducting voluntary genetic testing of its staff before company lawyers said that doing so would be illegal.

CBS affiliate KPHO-TV in Phoenix first reported that the woman who was in a vegetative state for more than 10 years after a near-drowning had given birth December 29.

"We're not going to point out who we've obtained DNA from or who we intend to get DNA from", he said.

That same year, a woman in a coma at a home in MA gave birth to a baby girl prematurely and with severe brain damage.

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For example, an investigation in 2013 found that a staff member had made "inappropriate, sexual statements" about four clients. The Hacienda HealthCare company's CEO Bill Timmons resigned from his position after news of the sexual assault went public.

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This Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, photo shows Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix.

Officers launched a sex crime investigation when it was determined the mother was in a vegetative state, police spokesman Tommy Thompson said.

Phoenix attorney John Michaels said in a statement: "The family is obviously outraged, traumatised and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter as Hacienda Healthcare".

The centre said a warrant was served by police on Tuesday, as authorities try to find out how the woman became pregnant.

According to the Phoenix CBS Affiliate KPHO, an unidentified source said, "From what I've been told, she was moaning ... and they didn't know what was wrong with her. ..."

The Hacienda facility serves infants, children and young adults who are "medically fragile" or have developmental disabilities, its website says.

"When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers", tribal chairman Terry Rambler said.

"One of our patients just had a baby, and we had no idea she was pregnant", the nurse said. The CEO of Hacienda HealthCare resigned this week as the provider announced new safety measures, including more than one staff member being present during patient interactions and more scrutiny of visitors.

The revelation that a woman in a vegetative state was raped inside a care facility has horrified advocates for people with disabilities and the community at large.

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