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Helpless Woman in Vegetative State for Over 10 Years Gives Birth in Private Arizona Health Care Facility

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 6, 2019 18:17

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A female patient who has been in a vegetative state for at least 10 years due to a drowning accident gave birth last week at Hacienda Health Care in Phoenix. None of the staff knew she was pregnant. An investigation is underway by both police and state authorities.

I cringed a million times over after reading this story: a woman in a private health care facility in Phoenix who has been living in a vegetative state for over 10 years allegedly gave birth on December 29. And not one staff member knew she was pregnant.

Governor Ducey of Arizona called the report ‘deeply disturbing” I couldn’t agree more. State agencies and police are investigating—but it’s too little too late. It seems that this woman was obviously raped.

NOTHING like this should happen in a civilized society. Back in the day, when I was between radio jobs, I subbed in a few private pre- and elementary schools. Some of my colleagues were quite upset there were cameras in every classroom. But I was glad—not because I would ever harm a child under any conditions—but because workers who care for vulnerable populations must be held accountable for their actions and also be protected against false accusations.

When dealing with our most vulnerable, we have to have cameras as eyes to record improprieties and worse yet, direct abuse. That’s why I have been a proponent of body cameras on police. It protects the public and the police as well.

You don’t have to be a physician to know there must have been a sexual assault on this poor woman who cannot speak for herself. Reports state the woman was moaning and that prompted a nurse to enter her room- just as a baby’s head was emerging. 

It’s out of my scope to know how a patient in such a tragic state is attended to in terms of hygiene.  Wouldn’t her night clothes be changed or she be bathed or have IVs changed? How could someone not notice? One explanation I can think of is perhaps the woman was large in stature and that’s why her condition went unnoticed—or personal care is handled by a protocol I’m not aware of.

The good news is that the baby is reported to be healthy.

This event occurred at Hacienda Health Care. In a statement, Hacienda said it is cooperating with the investigation, calling the incident ‘unprecedented” and “deeply disturbing.”

Phoenix Police Department spokesman Sgt. Tommy Thompson said police are investigating but would not commit to calling this a sex crime.

Hacienda is just a 60-bed facility. It advertises itself as a health care center that serves infants, children and young adults with developmental disabilities or the "medically fragile.”

Let us not forget our most vulnerable. Arizona state agencies are taking measures to impose more protections.  The State Department of Economic Security performed health and safety checks on all the other residents at Hacienda after the birth, but again, too little too late.

Let's advocate for cameras in hospitals, health care facilities and schools. Video monitoring keeps patients safe and cuts costs. There were ways the assault of an innocent and helpless woman could have been prevented.

The name of the woman and other personal details have not been released.

Marion Charatan

Posted on January 6, 2019 18:17

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