A woman who has been in a vegetative state for 14 years gave birth to a child last week while in the care of a facility called Hacienda HealthCare based in Phoenix.
Local news outlet KPHO-TV reports that the Phoenix Police Department began investigating the incident as a possible rape case after the woman gave birth on Dec. 29. An unidentified source familiar with the incident told KPHO-TV that the facility’s staff had no idea the patient was pregnant until she began moaning as she went into labor.
The source added that a nurse delivered the child and the baby is alive and healthy.
When asked if the patient had any way to defend herself from a possible assault, the source responded: “No. None whatsoever. Not even able to communicate the fact that she was pregnant.”
A spokeswoman for Hacienda HealthCare, Nancy Salmon, released a statement following the initial news report.
“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,” she said. “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 #1 priority and that we always cooperate, when asked by any agency, in an open and transparent way.”
Neither Hacienda HealthCare nor the Phoenix Police Department immediately responded to HuffPost’s requests for comment.
The source told KPHO-TV that since the incident, Hacienda HealthCare has tightened procedure, allowing male staff to enter a female patient’s room only if he is accompanied by a female employee.
Head over to KPHO-TV to read more.