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Woman in vegetative state gives birth at Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix

Posted at 10:55 AM, Jan 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 16:35:50-05

PHOENIX — Arizona authorities are investigating the rape of a female patient in a Phoenix nursing facility.

The victim, who has been in a vegetative state at the facility for at least 14 years, stunned workers at Hacienda Healthcare when she went into labor because they didn't even know she was pregnant.

KPHO reporter Briana Whitney spoke with a woman familiar with the situation who wishes to remain anonymous.

Reporter: When you first heard about what happened, what went through your mind?

Woman: How could it happen? And just anger and sadness, and sick to my stomach.

Woman: None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth.

Reporter: How were they alerted to the fact that she was going into labor?

Woman: From what I've been told, she was moaning. And they didn't know what was wrong with her. There was a nurse that was there, and from what I heard she's the one that delivered the baby.

Reporter: What do we know about the baby?

Woman: From what I know, the baby is alive, the baby is healthy.

According to KPHO, adult protective services immediately dispatched a team to conduct health and safety checks on all members in the facility after hearing the allegations.

The Arizona Department of Health says they are actively working with local law enforcement in their criminal investigation.

Right now, no suspects have been named.

The woman familiar with the situation tells KPHO this patient required round-the-clock care, and many people would have access to her room. Since this incident, the facility now requires that a female staff member must accompany a male staff member if they need to enter a female patient's room.

Reporter: So she had no way to defend herself in this sort of situation?

Woman: No none whatsoever. Not even able to communicate the fact that she was pregnant.

According to its website, Hacienda Healthcare serves more than 2,500 people each year.