The family of a woman in a vegetative state who recently gave birth after being raped is speaking out.
“The family obviously is outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda Healthcare,” John Micheaels, an attorney representing the family, told HuffPost in a statement Wednesday.
The patient, a 29-year-old Native American woman whose identity has not been made public, has been in a coma ― which Micheaels described as “a completely vulnerable state” ― for 14 years after a near-drowning incident. She has been in the care of Hacienda HealthCare, a Phoenix-based nursing facility.
She gave birth on Dec. 29 to a healthy child, according to reports from local outlet KPHO-TV. Hacienda staffers reportedly did not realize the patient was pregnant until she began moaning as she was going into labor. KPHO-TV reported on Monday that the woman had been raped several times.
“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,” Micheaels said. “The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for.”
The attorney asked that the media and public honor the family’s wish for privacy.
Phoenix police served search warrants to obtain DNA from all male staffers at the facility, Hacienda HealthCare told HuffPost in a Tuesday statement.
“We will continue to cooperate with Phoenix Police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation,” the company said.
Phoenix police have said little about the investigation, and did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Hacienda HealthCare’s longtime CEO, Bill Timmons, resigned on Monday in the wake of the crime. Gary Orman, executive vice president, said the facility “will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation.”
The woman is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, based in southeastern Arizona, “CBS This Morning” reported.
“I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members. It is my hope that justice will be served,” the tribe chairman told CBS.
A former caregiver of the victim expressed shock to ABC-15 that no one at the facility realized the patient was pregnant.
“I can’t believe that somebody would bathe her daily for nine months and never know that she wasn’t having a period, that she [was] growing in her midsection, that nurses weren’t keeping track” of her weight, said the caregiver, whose identity was kept private by the station. “Those things are shocking to me.”