Updated on January 23, 2019, at 11:57 a.m.
A nurse who was looking after a woman in Vegetative state at a long-term healthcare facility has been charged with raping her, weeks after she gave birth to a baby boy. Staff members were stunned since none of the caregivers nor doctors at the facility knew she was pregnant.
Investigators arrested 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, on suspicion of one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse. According To Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, this arrest was made after owing it to the victim, and the “newest member of the community,” the baby boy.
The surprise birth made headline news last month, highlighting the safety concerns for patients who were disabled or incapacitated, prompting authorities to test the DNA of all men who worked at the Hacienda HealthCare facility. Sutherlands was charged after his DNA was found to match the baby.
The nurse declined to speak with police and invoked his Fifth Amendment right. The 29-year old victim has been in long term care since the age of 3 and gave birth at the facility on December 29, 2018. Despite a medical exam conducted to the woman in April, there was no report of a pregnancy whatsoever.
The surprise pregnancy promoted the departure of key figures at Hacienda HealthCare, including the CEO. The doctor who cared for the woman, and gave her the exam resigned and another had been suspended. The patient is being described as intellectually disabled due to her seizures in early childhood. While she doesn’t speak, she does have some mobility in her head, neck, and limbs. She can also respond to sound and make facial gestures.
Updated on January 10, 2018, at 4:07 p.m.
Authorities have stated the female patient who is in a vegetative state and remains anonymous due to being a victim of sexual assault, received a medical exam nine months prior to giving birth. This according to court documents obtained by detectives and authorities.
The 29-year-old woman’s mother and legal guardian submitted an annual report, which is required by state law. The report included the results of a physical done on April 16th, 2018. The report stated the doctor who examined the patient at The Hacienda HealthCare facility where she lives found “no change” in her health. The doctor wrote the exam was external only.
The woman gave birth to the baby on December 29, 2018, and both remain in the hospital since the child was in medical distress after being delivered. Doctors in fetal medicine say it’s possible there might not be an extreme outward sign of pregnancy if the mother is in a vegetative state. Phoenix police are gathering DNA samples from male facility staff as part of the investigation. Detectives also served a search warrant to gather records relevant to the investigation.
This original story was published on January 4, 2018, at 3: 25 p.m.
Arizona Authorities are investigating a rape incident after a female patient in a vegetative state in a nursing facility gave birth to a baby. The woman stunned workers when she went into labor since they didn’t even know she was pregnant in the first place.
The woman has have been in a vegetative state at the Hacienda Skilled Nursing Facility for 14 years, after a near drowning incident. Nobody knows who is responsible for impregnating the woman since she has no way of identifying him due to her state. A woman familiar with what happened, who prefers to remain anonymous, said employes couldn’t believe what unfolded inside the victim’s room. None of the staff were aware she was pregnant until she was giving birth. The patient was moaning but didn’t know what was wrong until the woman was crowning.
Luckily, employees stated the baby was alive and healthy. Adult Protective Services said after hearing the allegation, they immediately dispatched a team to conduct safety and health checks on all members living in the facility. The Arizona Department of Health is actively working with law enforcement officers in their criminal investigation.
As of now, no suspects have been named. The employee said the patient required round the clock care, and many had access to her room. The facility has since changed protocol this year, stating if male staff needs to enter a room with a female patient, they have to bring in a female employee with them.
The Hacienda Healthcare Serves more than 2,500 people each year.