A woman who has been in a vegetative state since drowning over 10 years ago gave birth to a baby last month, Arizona's AZ Family has reported. The unidentified woman -- who was permanently residing at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix -- was found moaning in her room prior to giving birth. Sources close to the incident said that no one in the facility knew that the patient was pregnant until her baby began to make its way into the world.
Though the baby was born healthy, officials are now investigating the facility for the person who sexually abused the patient sometime last summer. According to AZ Family's source, multiple people had access to her room -- including doctors, nurses, janitorial staff, and other facility employees.
The source also revealed that changes to the facility's protocol regarding female patients have been immediately implemented. Now, if a male staff member enters the room of a female patient, they need to bring a female employee with them.
Law enforcement officials have not commented on the investigation, but Hacienda Healthcare released an official statement regarding the allegations.
"We are aware of this situation and are actively working with local law enforcement in their criminal investigation. Upon learning of the allegation, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) immediately initiated an onsite complaint investigation to ensure the health and safety of the patients and ensure the facility is in compliance with all state laws and regulations. During this time, the agency has required heightened safety measures be implemented at the facility including increased staff presence during patient interactions, increased monitoring of the patient care areas, and increased security measures with respect to visitors at the facility."This is not the first time something like this has occurred to a comatose female patient. According to the New York Times, a Rochester woman was raped in 1995 while in a coma, subsequently giving birth nine months later. The woman, known as Kathy, was 30 years old at the time of the birth of her child. The child was born with a heart defect, one which resulted in a handful of heart surgeries.
In the New York case, the attacker -- John Horace -- was found guilty of rape, and was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. The family allowed a piece of legislation to be named after the victim, and "Kathy's Law" was implemented. The law would require deeper background checks for those working with the elderly and with comatose patients residing in nursing care facilities.
In the New York matter, Kathy died in an undisclosed medical facility two years after the birth of her child. Though the cause of death was not disclosed, a medical expert told the New York Times that comatose patients frequently succumb to opportunistic infections which their weakened bodies can no longer fight.