A disabled woman who gave birth at a Phoenix care facility was likely pregnant before, documents allege
Ugh. And to top it all off, this woman has been institutionalized since the age of about 3 years old. They originally reported that she was in a "vegetative state" but now they describe her as "disabled" and having "intellectual disabilities".
(CNN)A disabled woman who gave birth at an Arizona long-term care facility had been raped repeatedly, and had likely been pregnant before, new documents allege.
Her lawyers filed a $45 million notice of claim to Arizona on Wednesday with allegations against the state along with Hacienda HealthCare, where the woman had lived since 1992.
She delivered a boy at the facility in late December, shocking her caregivers, who said they had no idea she was pregnant. She has since left the facility.
Authorities obtained DNA samples from male staff members and arrested licensed practical nurse Nathan Sutherland, 36, who was caring for the woman. He was charged with sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse, and has pleaded not guilty.
New allegations revealed
In the notice of claim filed before litigation for settlement discussion, the family made a series of allegations against the state and the health care facility where the now 29-year-old woman lived.
(1992 was 26 years ago. She is now 29.)
The Maricopa County Medical Center examined the woman after she gave birth and concluded she'd been "violated repeatedly," the documents allege. Her giving birth was likely a "repeat parous event," which means she may have been pregnant before, the documents say.
From the claim, it's unclear whether she carried the previous pregnancy her family believes she had to term.
It said the woman suffered multiple sexual assaults that caused her permanent physical and emotional pain, and caused her parents significant emotional distress.
The woman has intellectual disabilities as a result of childhood seizures, and is bedridden and nonverbal. But she can move some of her extremities, respond to sound and make facial gestures, according to her family.
Her parents had previously requested that she be cared for by female employees and was assured that would happen, but it did not, the documents allege. Instead, unsupervised male caretakers, including the suspect, were allowed to go into her room, the documents say.
The documents accuse the state of being "vicariously liable for the negligence, gross negligence and medical negligence" at Hacienda.
It also raises a question for me about the medical ethics of the whole situation, even if she hadn't been raped. This is not a life. Is this a life worth living, even without the rape? Is euthanasia not kinder? If it were a horse with a broken leg, we would "put it down as a kindness". But since she's a homo sapiens, we keep this bedridden, nonverbal body alive for decades. Is that truly the most ethical decision?
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.