According to experts, sexual abuse of people with disabilities happen more often than we know.
Police in Phoenix, Arizona are investing a possible case of sexual abuse after a patient who has been in a vegetative state for 14 years has given birth. The alleged sexual assault victim has been a patient at the Hacienda HealthCare facility for at least a decade after a near-drowning incident left her in a comatose state. The patient was reportedly assaulted by someone who had access to her at the healthcare and the staff did not know she was pregnant until the baby was born. The 20-year-old patient gave birth to a baby boy on December 29, as reported by AZ Family.
A source familiar with the situation said, “None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth. From what I’ve been told she was moaning. And they didn’t know what was wrong with her.” The baby is alive and healthy and are being treated at Maricopa Medical Center. Dr Greg Marchand, Ob-gyn, said in the interview, “I can’t even imagine how horrible it must be to be a victim of abuse like that. This was an extremely dangerous situation with no monitoring.” He also added that even though a baby can fully develop inside a woman in a vegetative state, it’s alarming that she had no prenatal care.
Investigation is currently underway but there have been no suspects named so far. The source also said that many had access to the patient’s room because she required 24/7 care. The medical facility has reportedly also changed its protocol since the incident. “As of now, if a male staff needs to enter a female’s room, they need to bring in a female employee with them,” the insider told AZ Family.
According to experts, sexual abuse of people with disabilities happen more often than we know. Erica McFadden with the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council said, “There was a national survey done on people with disabilities and abuse and 70% of the people with disabilities reported some kind of abuse. 40% of those cases were people who were sexually abused.” Meanwhile, Hacienda Healthcare administrators say they are reviewing their processes and protocol and making sure that every patient is safe and cared for.