A woman in a vegetative state at an Arizona nursing facility became pregnant and gave birth in what is reportedly being investigated by police as a possible sex abuse case.
The unnamed woman had been a patient at Hacienda Healthcare facility in Phoenix for over a decade when staff heard her moaning in December, a source told local station KPHO-TV.
“From what I’ve been told she was moaning. And they didn’t know what was wrong with her,” the source said, according to the station. "None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth."
They then reportedly realized the woman was in labor and a nurse who was at the facility delivered a healthy baby boy on Dec. 29.
The woman suffered a near-drowning that left her in a vegetative state more than 14 years ago and has required around-the-clock care at the facility, where many had access to her room, KPHO-TV reported.
She would have been unable to defend herself if an individual attacked her, the source told the television station.
“[She was] not even able to communicate the fact that she was pregnant,” the source said.
In light of the incident, protocol at the facility has reportedly changed to require male staff to bring a female employee with them when entering a female’s room.
No suspect has been identified.
The Arizona Adult Protective Services has dispatched a team to conduct health and safety checks on all those living at the facility, and the Arizona Department of Health is actively working with local law enforcement. Phoenix Police said the incident is under investigation.
Hacienda Healthcare would not comment on any patient or any ongoing investigation, citing federal and state laws.
“Hacienda Healthcare has been in business in the valley for over 50 years, and has an outstanding reputation providing high quality specialized care for our patients,” a statement released to KPHO-TV read. “We can say that our patients' and clients' health and safety is our No. 1 priority and that we always cooperate, when asked by any agency, in an open and transparent way."
Hacienda Healthcare was founded as Hacienda de Los Angeles in 1967. It serves more than 2,500 people in Arizona each year, according to its website.