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Reports that woman at Hacienda Healthcare is in a vegetative state are inaccurate, lawyer says

PHOENIX (KPNX) — The woman who gave birth at Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix is not in a vegetative state or comatose, according to her family’s lawyer.

John Micheaels, the attorney representing the woman and her family, said she has “significant intellectual disabilities” but has “some awareness.”

“She is able to respond to family when they are in the room in terms of making facial expressions,” Micheaels said in a statement. “She doesn’t speak. She likes to be read to. She likes soft music.”

The woman gave birth on Dec. 29 at the facility located near 14th Street and Baseline Road, sparking a rape investigation by Phoenix police. Employees at the Phoenix facility reportedly did not know the woman was pregnant. A physical exam was performed on the woman eight months before she gave birth.

12 News had previously reported that the woman was in a vegetative state based on a number of reports, including a Phoenix police report released Jan. 9 that referred to the woman as “incapacitated” and a letter from the San Carlos tribe on Jan. 8 that said the woman “has been in a persistent vegetative state and coma for over a decade.”

But Micheaels said reports that she is in a coma or in a vegetative state are “really not accurate.”

“Her eyes are open. She doesn’t track things that are going on. The medical records reflect she responds to pain, she withdraws from pain,” he said.

According to Micheaels, the woman “grimaces when there is something unpleasant, but it’s on a much more limited basis.”

Micheaels released a statement from the woman’s family Tuesday saying she has “some ability to move her limbs, head and neck.”

“The important thing is that she is a beloved daughter, albeit with significant intellectual disabilities,” the statement read.

Micheaels also said reports the woman nearly drowned when she was young, resulting in her entering the care of Hacienda Healthcare, are also ” inaccurate.”

In the statement, Micheaels said the woman has had seizures since she was very young.

The criminal investigation is ongoing. Phoenix police served a search warrant on Jan. 8 for DNA tests of male employees. The state also requested pregnancy and STD testing for all Hacienda patients earlier this month.

As of Monday, two physicians at Hacienda Healthcare who were responsible for the woman’s care are no longer providing medical services at the facility.

Hacienda Healthcare said one of the doctors resigned while the other was suspended.

Bill Timmons, the company’s former CEO, resigned shortly after news of the birth spread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NBC News

NBC News

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