This Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, photo shows Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix. The revelation that a Phoenix woman in a vegetative state recently gave birth has prompted Hacienda HealthCare CEO Bill Timmons to resign, putting a spotlight on the safety of long-term care settings for patients who are severely disabled or incapacitated. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Lawyer: Incapacitated woman who gave birth not in coma

Police investigators have been collecting DNA samples from male employees at the facility

A lawyer for the family of an incapacitated Arizona woman who gave birth in a long-term care facility said she is not in a coma as previously reported.

The Arizona Republic reported Friday that attorney John Micheaels said the 29-year-old woman has “significant intellectual disabilities” and does not speak but has some ability to move, responds to sounds and is able to make facial gestures.

Phoenix police have said the woman was the victim of a sexual assault and have disclosed little other information.

A Jan. 8 statement by San Carlos Apache Tribe officials said the woman, a tribal member, gave birth while in a coma.

News media outlets have reported that the woman, who has not been publicly identified, was in a vegetative state at the facility where she spent many years.

“The important thing here is that contrary to what’s been reported, she is a person, albeit with significant intellectual disabilities. She has feelings and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family,” Micheaels told the newspaper.

He responded to a request Saturday by The Associated Press for comment by saying in an email that the information reported in the Republic is correct. He did not comment further.

READ MORE: Facility’s CEO resigns after woman in vegetative state for decade gives birth

The woman gave birth to a baby boy on Dec. 29 as staff at Hacienda HealthCare frantically called 911 for assistance, telling an operator that they had not known she was pregnant.

Police investigators have been collecting DNA samples from male employees at the facility and any other men who could have had contact with the woman. State regulatory officials have also launched investigations.

The victim and the newborn have reportedly been recovering at a hospital, but no information has been released about their conditions.

The woman’s guardian, her mother, described her in a May 29 annual guardian report filed in court as “an incapacitated adult.” An attached doctor’s report said the woman has a brain disorder, recurrent pneumonia, paralysis of the limbs, seizure disorder and other conditions.

Hacienda spokesman David Leibowitz told the AP on Saturday that patient privacy laws precluded him from discussing the woman’s condition.

The director of the facility has resigned and the company subsequently hired former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley to conduct an independent investigation into management procedures and patient safety.

On Friday, Hacienda announced that another female patient had alleged physical abuse by staff members.

Hacienda officials said in a news release that the patient accused a registered nurse and a certified caregiver, both women, of yelling at her and hitting her head and arm.

Hacienda officials said the patient showed no signs of injury or abuse and that the two workers had no history of complaints and denied the allegations. They were placed on administrative leave during an investigation.

Police say they were informed about the complaint but weren’t able to corroborate anything.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Small Glories grace former Vernon roost

Band grows from small beginnings to big glory

Meet Vernon Special Olympics hometown heroes

Eight athletes from Vernon will participate in the games

Vernon rolls out four days of films

2019 Spring Film Festival runs Feb. 25-28

Home loss ends Vernon Vipers’ long weekend win streak

The Vernon Vipers ended the three games in three nights weekend with two wins, one loss

Vagina Monologues help Vernon women and children escape violence

V-Day 2019 fundraiser Feb. 28 benefits Transition House

A Mother’s Wish: Ryan Shtuka’s mother wants her son to be ‘forever known’

‍‍‍‍‍“Let me tell you a story …. it all began with a boy named Ryan”

B.C. father and sons launch new trunk-sharing system, ‘Trunkit’

Smiths say peer-to-peer shipping service offers an affordable, green alternative

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Salmon Arm’s Laura Hall on bronze-winning skating squad

Hall’s team placed third in long track team pursuit at the Canada Winter Games

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Review: Joie de Vivre a celebration of homegrown talent

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra concert featured Ernst Schneider

Bashful Balladeers bring voices to Vernon

Despite hiding behind masks, talent shines with this group

Most Read