HORRIFYING

Woman in Vegetative State for Over a Decade Gives Birth, Prompting Sexual-Assault Investigation

Phoenix police have launched an investigation into a possible sexual assault after a woman in a vegetative state gave birth at a private healthcare facility on December 29, authorities say. The woman, who has not been identified, has been a patient at the Hacienda Healthcare Skilled Nursing Facility in Phoenix, Arizona, for at least 14 years, after a near-drowning incident left her in a vegetative state, sources told CBS affiliate Arizona’s Family. “None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth,” a source told the local news station. Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a spokesman at the Phoenix Police Department, said detectives are looking into the facility, which provides long-term care to patients with intellectual disabilities, but declined to give any specifics. A spokeswoman at the Arizona Department of Health Services said that the agency is aware of the allegations and inspectors have been sent to check on the patients.

“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,” Melissa Blasius-Nuanez, the spokeswoman, said Friday.