After Woman in Long-Term Vegetative State at Ariz. Nursing Facility Gives Birth, CEO Resigns
Days after a patient in a long-term vegetative state gave birth in an Arizona nursing facility, prompting a criminal investigation and growing concern from other patients’ families, the CEO of the facility has quit.
The resignation of Bill Timmons, the longtime chief executive officer of Hacienda Healthcare, was “accepted unanimously” by the board of directors, company spokesman David Leibowitz said in a statement released Monday, reports Phoenix TV station KPHO.
In the same statement, Gary Orman, executive vice president of the board, said Hacienda “will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation, an unprecedented case that has devastated everyone involved, from the victim and her family to Hacienda staff at every level of our organization.”
Hacienda HealthCare operates the long-term care facility for the developmentally disabled where the woman gave birth on Dec. 29 to a baby boy, according to earlier reporting by KPHO, which also revealed that the Native American woman has been in a vegetative state for more than a decade after a near-drowning. The outlet attributed its report to a single unnamed source who reportedly had been told about the incident.
A patient is considered in a vegetative state when he or she is awake but not showing signs of awareness, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Leibowitz earlier told PEOPLE that Hacienda was cooperating with law enforcement, but declined to divulge the exact nature of the underlying incident.
The New York Times and NBC News each reported that Phoenix police had opened an investigation into allegations involving the facility, but police would not discuss the details of the case or how long they had been looking into it.
Calls by PEOPLE to Phoenix police about the investigation have not been returned.
In 2017, the same nursing facility was cited after a state investigation for failure to protect residents’ privacy while they were naked in the shower, according to records from the state Department of Health and Human Services. After being assured by administrators that staffers “have been counseled on privacy during showering residents,” the state issued a follow-up report in January 2018 which concluded those and other deficiencies uncovered by investigators “have been corrected.”
Parents of patients at the Phoenix health care facility say they want answers.
“Everybody was up in shock,” Karina Cesena, whose 22-year-old daughter, Jazzmyne, is a patient at the Hacienda Healthcare facility, told CBS News. “Trust has been broken and severed completely.”
“A lot of people are mad — my family included,” Gary Londer told the outlet.
“My heart hurts, my chest hurts. I haven’t been able to sleep well at night because of what occurred here,” a mother, Angela Gomez, told CBS.
Orman tried to calm those concerns with his statement Monday on behalf of the facility’s board of directors.
“I want to assure our patients, their loved ones, our community partners, the agencies we do business with, Gov. Ducey and the residents of Arizona, we will continue to cooperate with Phoenix police and the investigating agencies at all levels in every way possible,” he said.
“And we will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of every single one of our patients and our employees.”