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2 doctors out at facility where incapacitated woman gave birth

CBS News logo CBS News 1/22/2019 Peter Martinez
a close up of a sign: 190109-cbs-hacienda-healthcare-04.png © CBS News 190109-cbs-hacienda-healthcare-04.png

Two physicians who cared for an incapacitated patient who gave birth as a result of sexual assault at a medical facility in Phoenix are no longer employed there, CBS affiliate KPHO-TV reports. One has resigned and the other has been suspended from Hacienda HealthCare.

A 29-year-old woman, who has been a patient there since she was a toddler after suffering a near-drowning, gave birth to a baby boy Dec. 29.

"Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathy to the client and her family," Hacienda HealthCare said in a statement. "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."

KPHO-TV notes the staff at the facility were unaware the woman was pregnant and frantically called 911 when she began giving birth.

The sexual assault sparked a police investigation — including collecting samples of DNA from male employees who worked there. Hacienda's CEO resigned soon after KPHO-TV broke the story. An internal investigation has also been launched, led by a former attorney with Maricopa County.

The station notes Hacienda HealthCare is not licensed by Arizona. According to Will Humble, the former Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, the facility is "specifically exempt by statute."

State Sen. Heather Carter is one of the state representatives pushing emergency legislation to remove the statute from 1996-1997 that exempts Hacienda HealthCare from a state license, KPHO-TV reports.

Arizona has ordered the facility to find a third-party manager and the CEO has agreed, the station writes.

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Meanwhile, a lawyer for the woman's family said she isn't in a coma as previously reported. The Arizona Republic reported Friday that attorney John Micheaels said the 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 disclosed little other information other than they are investigating this incident as a sexual assault. A Jan. 8 statement by San Carlos Apache Tribe officials said the woman, a tribal member, gave birth while in a coma.

The woman, who has not been publicly identified, had been described to CBS affiliate KPHO-TV as being 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.

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