- Last month, a Phoenix care facility made headlines when it was reported that a patient there gave birth despite having been in a vegetative state for over 20 years.
- Now the woman’s attorney is speaking out to say that descriptions of her condition have been misreported.
- The family’s lawyer, John Micheaels, told INSIDER on Tuesday that the patient is not in a vegetative state, but rather significantly cognitively impaired from seizures as a child.
- She recognises family members, has some movement, and can make facial expressions, the attorney said.
The attorney of an Arizona care facility patient whose surprise pregnancy has sparked a sexual-assault investigation is speaking out to clarify the details of her condition.
When the 29-year-old woman gave birth to a baby boy at the Hacienda HealthCare Skilled Nursing Facility in Phoenix late last month, local reports said she was in a vegetative state, a condition in which a person has no cognitive ability or control over their movements, but their organs continue to operate.
But in an email to INSIDER on Tuesday, the woman’s attorney, John Micheaels, said she is not vegetative, but rather “significantly cognitively disabled.”
He also said reports that she became disabled because of a near-drowning incident as a child were false. Her impairment is due to seizures she had at a young age, he said.
Micheaels said she has been a patient at the facility for over 20 years.
The woman’s family issued a statement through Micheaels on Tuesday, detailing how she is aware of those close to her and that she can make some movements and facial gestures:
“The victim’s parents would like to make clear that their daughter is not in a coma. She has significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures very early in her childhood. She does not speak but has some ability to move her limbs, head and neck.
“Their daughter responds to sound and is able to make facial gestures. The important thing is that she is a beloved daughter, albeit with significant intellectual disabilities. She has feelings, likes to be read to, enjoys soft music, and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family.”
Micheaels provided no explanation as to why the woman’s condition went misreported for weeks. INSIDER first reached out to Micheaels on January 9, when we learned that he had been hired as the family’s attorney. He did not respond to our email at the time.
Phoenix police continue to investigate whether the woman’s pregnancy resulted from a sexual assault. Earlier this month they obtained warrants to take DNA samples from all the male staff members at the facility in an attempt to identify the baby’s father.
On Monday, local CBS affiliate Arizona’s Family broke the news that two doctors who worked directly with the patient are no longer working at the facility. One was suspended and one resigned.
The woman’s family is taking care of the baby boy.
- Read more about Hacienda HealthCare:
- Police are investigating a second assault accusation at the Arizona care facility where a woman unexpectedly gave birth
- The woman who gave birth at the Arizona care facility has given a face to an issue that happens with disturbing frequency
- At the Arizona nursing home where a woman gave birth, an employee was fired in 2013 for making ‘inappropriate, sexual’ comments to patients
- Former caregiver of the nursing home patient who gave birth says she never could have given consent, and an ex-manager claims the company covered up another sexually inappropriate incident
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