Woman in Coma Who Gave Birth Had Been in Nursing Facility Since She Was a Toddler: Court Docs
The woman in a vegetative state, who gave birth to a baby boy on Dec. 29, has been at the Phoenix-based nursing facility since she was a toddler, PEOPLE confirms.
Records obtained from Maricopa County Superior Court state the woman has been a resident of the facility run by Hacienda HealthCare for more than 27 years — nearly double the length of time that appeared in previous reports.
The patient, who has been identified as a 29-year-old Native American, has been under the care of the facility since she was between ages 2-3, according to the documents, which also state that the woman suffers from quadriplegia, recurrent pneumonia and a seizure disorder.
“She lacks sufficient understanding and mental capacity to make decisions or give consents for her medical, placement or financial estate,” the court documents say.
The records date back to a 2009 order that transferred guardianship of the woman from her biological father to her mother.
In addition, the records reveal that the patient’s last doctor’s examination took place more than eight months prior to the Dec. 29 birth, which according to Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson “took everyone [at the facility] by surprise.”
Thompson told PEOPLE, “It’s my impression that the staff there had no clue that this lady was having a baby,” adding that she was “quite a ways along” before she had a natural birth.
An annual guardian’s report filed with the court and dated April 30, 2018, says that the woman’s last court-ordered annual doctor’s examination took place on April 16, 2018.
“No changes,” says a handwritten note in response to a form question asking whether there have been “any major changes in the ward’s physical and/or mental condition in the last year.”
PEOPLE was unable to reach the doctor who performed the examination.
Thompson confirmed the baby and his mother have been recovering in an area hospital following the birth.
“We’re tickled that the baby’s okay,” Thompson said. “I think it’s a miracle. I hate to draw a miracle of such a horrific event, but the baby survived. Words can’t describe the thoughts we have, the questions that go through our mind about this.”
On Tuesday, the woman’s family attorney, John Micheaels, said in a statement to PEOPLE, “The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for.”
Micheaels revealed the woman’s relatives are “outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda Healthcare,” adding, “The family is well aware of the intense news and public interest in their daughter’s case, but at this time is not emotionally ready to make a public statement.”
It is not yet known exactly where the baby is being raised or who he is being raised by.
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Following news of the birth, Bill Timmons, the longtime chief executive officer of Hacienda Healthcare, resigned.
In 2017, the facility was cited by the state 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.”
Phoenix police have confirmed a sexual assault investigation concerning the woman’s pregnancy.
Officials and Hacienda HealthCare both have confirmed the collection of DNA from male staffers in an effort to find a link to the apparent assault of the woman.
Investigators are asking the public to help identify a suspect in the sexual assault case. Anyone with information, call 602-534-2121. Or to remain anonymous, call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.