The mother of a woman who has been in a vegetative state for 14 years and recently gave birth, issued a statement in the wake of the incident.
A patient at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix went into labor and gave birth on Dec. 29, 2018. But the woman has been in a near-vegetative state after she was involved in a near-drowning incident from more than a decade, AZFamily.com first reported. Police are now investigating a likely sexual assault incident.
In the report, a worker said nursing staff had no idea the unnamed woman was pregnant until she went into labor. The patient had no ability to communicate in any way.
“None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth,” the unidentified staff member told the outlet. Several staff members had access to the patient, who requires care 24 hours per day.
The woman’s mother, Karina Cesena, told AZFamily on Jan. 5 that “trust has been broken.”
A near-drowning incident at least a decade ago left the alleged victim in that condition and she's been a patient at a healthcare facility ever since, a source tells CBS affiliate, KPHO-TV.
“Trust has definitely been broken,” she continued, adding that her daughter had lived at Hacienda Skilled Nursing Facility for several years. After the woman’s brain injury, she has several hundred seizures per day.
Cesena said she was horrified to learn the new developments and is staying in her daughter’s room 24 hours per day until a suspect is found.
“I do not [know if my daughter was victimized], but I do ask her, and she can answer yes or no,” Cesena told the outlet. “She is not able to walk or talk yet, but she does understand.”
The first AZFamily.com report said the baby is healthy.
Another parent of a patient at the facility said he’s making changes to his son’s room. “A lot of people are mad, my family included,” Gary Londer said of his son, who is in a coma. He’s now bringing a WiFi camera to his room.
“I’m going to hook it up in a room and put on the door that this room is under video surveillance,” he said.
Londer and Cesena said the facility previously had one security guard, but now it has more since news broke about the assault. The said male staff are now required to have female staff with them when they go into a female patient’s room.
Cesena said she is looking to move her daughter to another facility.
“We don’t understand why something of this magnitude could happen, and then now everybody wants to be quiet about it,” Cesena said.
The New York Times reported that the facility was previously cited for privacy violations after patients complained that employees would walk in on them when they showered. In 2013, a male staffer was fired after there were complaints that he made sexually suggestive remarks to patients.
The nursing facility houses 74 patients, and the Arizona Department of Health Services sent inspectors to check on the safety of the patients, the paper reported.
A Hacienda HealthCare representative issued another statement after the story received national coverage from the Times, the Washington Post, and other news outlets.
“Hacienda HealthCare has been in business in Arizona for more than 50 years. In that time, we have reliably and safely served thousands of residents and their families. We are proud of our record and our position as an industry leader in caring for the intellectually and developmentally disabled,” the statement read, AZFamily reported.
It added: “With that said, we have recently become aware of a deeply disturbing incident involving the health and safety of a Hacienda resident. While federal and state privacy laws prohibit us from publicly discussing a patient’s health or case, Hacienda has and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement and all the relevant regulatory agencies regarding this matter.”
The statement then concludes: “As an organization, Hacienda HealthCare stands fully committed to getting to the truth of what, for us, represents an unprecedented matter. We are already conducting a comprehensive internal review of our processes, protocols, and people to ensure that every single Hacienda resident is as safe and well cared for as possible. Anything less than that is unacceptable to our team, our company’s leaders and the communities we serve.”