The chief executive officer of the Phoenix, Arizona nursing home where a patient in a long-time persistent vegetative state gave birth, launching an investigation into sexual abuse at the facility, has resigned amid emerging reports of previous abuse cases.
Bill Timmons resigned from Hacienda HealthCare just days after news broke that on Dec. 29, a 29-year-old Native American woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Staff allegedly had no idea that the patient, who had been in a vegetative state for 14 years after suffering a near-drowning, was pregnant. Staff reportedly discovered the woman was in labor when she began moaning, and a nurse on staff subsequently delivered the baby.
Hacienda Board Executive Vice President Gary Orman issued a statement vowing to “accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation, an unpresented case that has devastated everyone involved, from the victim and her family to Hacienda staff at every level of our organization.”
News station KPHO reported that the patient had been raped several times while living in the facility. A staff member also said that in 1988, when made aware of nurses inappropriately discussing a nonverbal patients’ genitals in front of him, that Timmons slammed his fist on the table and insisted staff not report the incident to state health officials, even though law requires staff to report such incidents.
Since the story broke about the resident giving birth, family members of other patients at Hacienda HealthCare have come forward to voice concerns about the safety of their loved ones.
“Trust has been broken and severed completely,” said Karina Cesena, mother of a 22-year-old resident Jazzmyne.
“My heart hurts, my chest hurts,” said Angela Gomez, another patient’s family member. “I haven’t been able to sleep good at night because of what occurred here.”