Healthcare facility CEO resigns after Phoenix woman in coma gives birth

Adjust Comment Print

Hacienda HealthCare, which has 40 programs that serve more than 2,500 people a year in Arizona, according to its website, did not immediately respond to calls and messages seeking comment.

The chief executive officer of Hacienda HealthCare resigned Monday, just days after CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV reported that a vegetative patient at a Hacienda nursing facility there had given birth.

A woman whose 22-year-old daughter is a patient at the facility said she refuses to leave her side until the investigation is conclusive.

"I want to assure our patients, their loved ones, our community partners, the agencies we do business with, Governor 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", Orman said.

The tribe confirmed the events surrounding the birth at Hacienda HealthCare in a press release obtained by ABC15, saying the patient "has been in a persistent vegetative state and coma for over a decade".

Sources tell ABC15 that investigators are hoping to DNA test the staff at Hacienda Healthcare and are evaluating other patients at the establishment.

It is now under criminal investigation, as state investigators try to determine how the woman got pregnant.

The birth - and the sexual assault of a vulnerable individual that must have preceded it - has cast a harsh glare on conditions at a non-profit organization that bills itself as a leading provider of health care for Phoenix's medically fragile. It's also unclear if staff members at the facility were aware of her pregnancy until the birth.

In a news release Tuesday, tribe Chairman Terry Rambler said he was "deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members".

In a statement, board member Gary Orman said Hacienda "will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation". Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her.

A Phoenix police spokesman said that "the matter is now under investigation" but declined to give any further details of the case.

"I wasn't there. I clearly don't have firsthand knowledge of what happened", Meyers said.

Arizona state Rep. Jeff Weninger said he is considering legislation to protect patients living at long-term healthcare facilities. They include increased staff presence during any patient interaction, more monitoring of patient care areas and additional security measures involving visitors.

The facility provides intermediate care for patients with intellectual disabilities.