Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Sex abuse probe launched after Arizona woman gives birth in coma

Sex abuse probe launched after Arizona woman gives birth in coma

A top executive at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix resigned amid a pending investigation into a woman at his facility who recently gave birth despite being in a vegetative state for more than a decade.

The young woman's identity was withheld, but the San Carlos Apache Tribe confirmed she was as a member.

"When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers". Her life is split between her bedroom and another room where she's taken by wheelchair to spend her days, the woman told ABC 15. "It is my hope that justice will be served".

Gov. Doug Ducey's office said Ducey was briefed on the "deeply troubling" reports as soon as the office learned of them and that state agencies "immediately began taking every measure to protect patient safety".

Hacienda Healthcare's longtime CEO Bill Timmons resigned on Monday following news of the birth.

She said: "I was scared". It is also unclear if staff members at the Hacienda de Los Angeles facility were unaware of the pregnancy until the birth.

The outlet also reported that the patient has been in a vegetative state for at least a decade after almost drowning.

The caregiver told the outlet that the staff at the facility are pretty much the only human contact the patient has, as her family only visits once every few months. They declined further comment on Tuesday.

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"The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for", Phoenix attorney John Micheaels said in a statement.

The incident also prompted Hacienda HealthCare CEO Bill Timmons to resign yesterday, after the incident put a spotlight on the safety of long-term care settings for patients who are severely disabled or incapacitated.

A source told NBC 12 that Hacienda has changed protocol since the birth, requiring that male staff members be accompanied by female staff members.

A female patient living at a Hacienda HealthCare facility reportedly gave birth December 29 although the staff was unaware the woman was pregnant.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security has since conducted a health and well-being check on all other patients at the facility.

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

A male patient complained Hacienda HealthCare staff walked in on him while he was trying to shower with assistance in December 2017.

Hacienda HealthCare over time became the umbrella for several programs in the Phoenix area that treat chronically ill infants, children and adults. For example, an investigation in 2013 found that a staff member had made "inappropriate, sexual statements" about four clients.

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