Arizona police are investigating a sexual assault after a woman in a vegetative state gave birth in a Phoenix long term care facility on Saturday.
Families are in shock as news of a disturbing assault emerged from the Hacienda Healthcare facility this week where an unnamed female patient who has been in a vegetative state for 14 years recently gave birth.
Authorities have opened an investigation into the incident that sources told CBS affiliate Arizona’s Family the staff was unaware of until the woman went into labor.
Now the families of the facility’s other patients are saying they are concerned for their loved one’s safety.
DISTURBING: A woman who's been in a vegetative state for at least 14 yrs, gave birth to a baby boy Saturday. She was being cared for at a long-term care facility in Phoenix. Now investigators are searching for who raped her.— Briana Whitney (@BrianaWhitney) January 4, 2019
Our exclusive interview w/ a source close to the case pic.twitter.com/wTLRAqbTRY
“None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth,” a source close to the matter told AZ Family. “From what I’ve been told she was moaning. And they didn’t know what was wrong with her.”
The baby is said to be “alive” and “healthy.”
According to the source the facility has now changed protocol, requiring all male staff to be accompanied by a female staffer when entering a female patient’s room.
Meanwhile law enforcement are looking in to how this happened. Since the patient required around-the-clock care a number of staffers would have access to her room.
While Hacienda says it is cooperating with authorities in the investigation the families of the facility’s other patients claim the staff is refusing to give them any more information.
“Trust has been broken,” said Karina Cesena, mother of a patient at Hacienda. “Trust has definitely been broken.”
Cesena’s 22-year-old daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury and now has hundreds of seizures day. She has been living at Hacienda for several years. When Cesena heard that another patient at the facility had been sexually assaulted she was horrified and feared for her daughter’s safety.
“I do not [know if my daughter was victimized], but I do ask her, and she can answer yes or no,” Cesena told AZ Family.
Until the rapist is found though Cesena plans on staying with her daughter 24/7
According to INSIDER it’s not the first time the facility has been cited for inappropriate behavior. State health authorities received a previous complaint about nurses entering shower rooms while residents were bathing.
In a statement released by Hacienda Healthcare spokeswoman Nancy Salmon addressed the recent incident at the facility.
“As an organization, Hacienda HealthCare stands fully committed to getting to the truth of what, for us, represents an unprecedented matter.”
Salmon then continued about the investigation.
“We are already conducting a comprehensive internal review of our processes, protocols, and people to ensure that every single Hacienda resident is as safe and well cared for as possible. Anything less than that is unacceptable to our team, our company’s leaders and the communities we serve.”
After the initial report the story gained national attention and patient families were not the only ones horrified by by the disturbing incident.
This is extremely disturbing. Not even women in vegetative states, laying in hospital beds are safe.— Virginia Rose (@Virginia___Rose) January 4, 2019
Am I the only one who had to read that twice before finally being able to process what dafuq I just read?— Tyler Olea (@Tyler_Olea) January 4, 2019
This is outright appalling! This poor woman was raped, probably repeatedly by their male staff— Mischa Ⓥ (@mischa999k) January 4, 2019
And people wondered how the pregnancy could have gone unnoticed for so long.
How did they not know she was pregnant ?— Cheryl Smith (@cheryl0213) January 4, 2019
A pregnancy meant she stopped menstruating, gained some weight, and had a tightness in her belly. How did the med staff not see all this??— Lisa Taylor (@MsLisaTee) January 5, 2019
I’m glad the baby is okay. What the heck is going on in the facility? She didn’t “suddenly “ become pregnant. Hope they find the father and make him pay child support.— Wanda Kalencki (@OETKB2) January 4, 2019
More disturbing to many though was the likelihood that this was not an isolated incident.
I would hope that aside from rape charges against the perp that charges of gross neglect, endangerment, and anything else they can throw at them will be brought against Hacienda HealthCare facility.— MiTcH (@MiTcH_ArTs) January 4, 2019
Um - HuffPost - the story seems to ignore something.... though the likely rape is more egregious, how good can the care be if they didn’t notice the woman was pregnant until labor. Shouldn’t this be investigated?— Mod E. Rate (@psharoff) January 4, 2019
So terrible!!! Where is the responsibility of the workers of the facility!? I wonder how many other people in comas/vegetative states were also abused like this or similarly. I hope justice will be served..— 1 (@BIniti8nCr8) January 5, 2019
Oh hell nah everyone should loose they job how u have round the care and no one notice this get the strap— Loveisseasoned (@loveisseasoned) January 5, 2019
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect though, until the investigation is complete the perpetrator may still be inside the facility.
WHAT'S HAPPENING INSIDE HACIENDA NOW? As police investigate who raped the woman that gave birth in a vegetative state, parents of other children in the facility say staff is giving them no info, there were security measures missing, & are worried the rapist could still be inside pic.twitter.com/NMoRLnR329— Briana Whitney (@BrianaWhitney) January 6, 2019