Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix is currently under police investigation for sexual assault after a woman in a vegetative state gave birth at the facility. According to a report by Arizona’s Family, the alleged victim was a patient at Hacienda HealthCare, near the intersection of 16th Street and South Mountain Avenue. She had been a patient there for at least 14 years after a near-drowning accident put her into a vegetative state.
A source told AZ Family that none of the staff was aware of the pregnancy until the woman was about to give birth. The source said that staff realized the woman was in labor when she started moaning. The baby was delivered alive and healthy.
The woman was likely sexually assaulted and impregnated sometime last spring or summer. According to a news report by ABC 15, investigators may administer DNA tests to staff and evaluate other patients at Hacienda Healthcare. In that same report, several parents of patients in the facility voiced their concerns and said that they’re considering moving their children to a different facility.
Attorney contributor Kevin Biniazin helps survivors of sexual violence seek justice and support in civil courts. We’ve asked him to share some input into the legal options available to those who have been sexually abused in healthcare facilities:
The victims of sexual abuse are often people in vulnerable positions, such as children, the elderly, and the disabled. People living with disabilities are three times more likely to become victims of sexual violence than people without disabilities. Because of this tragic reality, the facilities that care for disabled people must take preventative measures to make sure their patients are safe and that no predators are permitted to work at the facility.
When a patient is sexually abused in a healthcare facility, it’s important to determine if the facility was negligent in a way that enabled the abuse to occur – such as improper supervision or a failure to run a background check before hiring a new employee. While the criminal justice system will investigate the case and prosecute the abuser, the victims and their families can take action in civil court by filing a lawsuit against negligent healthcare facilities. This helps demand accountability from third parties who enable abuse and provide financial support for damages suffered by abuse victims and their families.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse in a healthcare facility, the legal system may be able to help you find justice. Consider contacting an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney to learn more about your family’s legal options.