Hacienda patient may not have shown signs of pregnancy, expert says

Cheryl Sanders
January 12, 2019

Providers at Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix were shocked when the woman, who had been a vegetative state for several years, went into labor on December 29, 2018.

Phoenix Police spokesman Tommy Thompson speaks at a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Phoenix, about the investigation of a woman at a long-term care facility who gave birth.

While the hunt for her assailant is in progress, the case has raised the question: How could a woman who for 14 years has presumably displayed no awareness and little brain functioning conceive a child and give birth?

Police are seeking DNA samples from all male staffers at the facility in a push to identify the father of the baby boy, according to a Tuesday statement from Hacienda Healthcare obtained by PEOPLE. We will continue to cooperate with Phoenix Police and all other other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation.

Search warrants have been issued to obtain DNA evidence from men working at the Hacienda HealthCare centre.

The woman is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, according to a statement released by tribal leaders on Tuesday.

It is not yet known exactly where the baby is being raised or who he is being raised by.

She has reportedly been a patient at the facility for at least a decade following a near-drowning incident.

A look at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix.

Hacienda HealthCare has said it is cooperating fully with police.

A lawyer for the woman's family said in a statement that her family was outraged at the "neglect of their daughter" and asked for privacy.

The Hacienda facility, according to its website, provides specialized care for infants, children and young adults who are "medically fragile", chronically ill or have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Let's hope the authorities catch the perpetrator so that justice can be served.

Tribe chairman Terry Rambler spoke on behalf of the tribe in saying he was "deeply shocked and horrified".

A lawyer for the woman's relatives has confirmed that they are now caring for the infant. Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her.

Since the birth came to light, Hacienda HealthCare has implemented increased safety measures, including more than one staff member being present during patient interactions and more scrutiny of visitors.

And he added staff could face charges if it emerges they did know about the pregnancy and failed to act.

Advocates for people with disabilities say Arizona needs to find a way to monitor allegations of sexual abuse and sexual violence in group settings.

Hacienda CEO Bill Timmons stepped down Monday, spokesman David Leibowitz said. It's a "profound or deep state of unconsciousness" where the person doesn't have thinking abilities but has other bodily functions like breathing and circulation, and they may also open their eyes or make sounds like crying or laughing, states the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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