A young patient in a Phoenix, Arizona nursing home who has been in a persistent vegetative state for at least a decade gave birth to a baby on Dec. 29, launching an investigation by the Phoenix Police Department into possible sexual abuse.
The woman had been a patient at Hacienda Healthcare since a near-drowning incident left her in a vegetative state several years ago. She needed around-the-clock care and was unable to communicate. Many people had access to her room throughout the day and night.
Investigators from several agencies are keeping mum about the details, but according to staff accounts relayed to TV station KPHO/KTVK none of the staff were aware the patient was pregnant and only discovered she was in labor after she began moaning. A nurse at the facility allegedly delivered the baby boy, who was born healthy and alive.
Last spring or summer, the TV station reported that someone allegedly sexually assaulted a woman who was in a persistent vegetative state and the victim became pregnant.
Staff told the TV station that Hacienda Healthcare has since stepped up its practices, requiring male staff to have a female staffer with them whenever they enter a female patient’s room.
Hacienda Healthcare issued a statement saying it could not comment on any patient due to privacy laws, but “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 Phoenix Police Department is working with the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Arizona Department of Economic Security on the investigation.