Doctor Resigns from Facility Where Woman in Vegetative State Gave Birth, Another Suspended

January 22, 2019 Updated: January 22, 2019

The two doctors responsible for the care of the Arizona woman who gave birth while in a vegetative state are no longer providing medical services to the healthcare facility.

A statement released by Hacienda HealthCare—a long-term care facility—on Jan. 21 said that one of the doctors has resigned, while another has been suspended. The statement did not identify the doctors.

“Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathy to the client and her family. Hacienda intends to do everything possible to restore its credibility in the eyes of our patients, families, the community and our agency partners at every level,” the statement read, according to AZ Family.

This announcement comes weeks after the Hacienda HealthCare’s CEO Bill Timmons announced his resignation following the incident. His resignation was accepted unanimously by the Hacienda board of directors.

hacienda ceo resigns
Bill Timmons, Hacienda HealthCare’s longtime CEO, announced his resignation in the aftermath of a vegetative woman giving birth in a Hacienda facility, on Jan. 7, 2019. (Hacienda Healthcare)

Back in December, the 29-year-old woman, whose identity had not been released, delivered a baby boy, shocking her family members and staff at the facility. Staffers did not know she was pregnant. The woman has been a patient at Hacienda Healthcare since age 3. She was left in a vegetative state after suffering a near drowning.

Authorities say the woman was sexually assaulted and a criminal investigation has been launched. Police spokesman Tommy Thompson said investigators have been collecting DNA samples from all male employees and any other men who may have had contact with the victim in an effort to identify a suspect.

The woman’s family has said in a statement through their attorney that they will care for the infant boy and have asked for privacy. The victim and the newborn have been recovering in a hospital. Police did not release any further details about their conditions.

On its website, Hacienda describes itself as “Arizona’s leading provider of specialized health care services for medically fragile and chronically ill infants, children, teens, and young adults as well as those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

The facility received a two-star “below average” rating after its inspection in 2017, according to Medicare.gov.

Family Speaks Out About Victim’s Condition

In a statement released by the family’s attorney on Jan. 22, the parents of the 29-year-old patient said they wanted to make it clear that their daughter is not in a coma.

“She has significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures very early in her childhood,” according to the statement, reported Fox News. They added that the patient does not speak but has some ability to move her limbs, head, neck, responds to sound, and is able to make facial gestures.

“The important thing is that she is a beloved daughter, albeit with significant intellectual disabilities. She has feelings, likes to be read to, enjoys soft music, and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family,” the statement read.

According to The Merck Manual, a vegetative state is when a patient’s bodily functions are working as normal except for cognitive function. The Brain Foundation stated, “A vegetative state is when a person is awake but showing no signs of awareness.”

“A person in a vegetative state may open their eyes, wake up, and fall asleep at regular intervals and have basic reflexes, such as blinking when they’re startled by a loud noise, or withdrawing their hand when it’s squeezed hard. They’re also able to regulate their heartbeat and breathing without assistance,” the foundation added.

“However, a person in a vegetative state doesn’t show any meaningful responses, such as following an object with their eyes or responding to voices. They also show no signs of experiencing emotions nor of cognitive function.”

Reporter Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan
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