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Woman Gives Birth While Being In Vegetative State For Years Leading To Investigation

Screengrab/AZFamily, Twitter: @niccolejuicee

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.


“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. 

And people wondered how the pregnancy could have gone unnoticed for so long.

More disturbing to many though was the likelihood that this was not an isolated incident.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect though, until the investigation is complete the perpetrator may still be inside the facility.


Written by Dennis Matthew Livesey

Matt is a writer, designer, and native New Yorker. He has worked in film, where he enjoyed a brief career as a stand-in for Ian Holm; finance, where he pretended to understand his job, and real estate, where nothing remarkable happened. He writes about science, technology, and media. His work includes magazine articles, one published book, and the looming inevitability of the second.