Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A woman in a vegetative state for years has given birth to a boy, prompting an investigation by law enforcement and health agencies.
The 20-year-old comatose patient was being cared for at a Hacienda Healthcare facility in Phoenix after a near-drowning more than 10 years ago.
AZFamily.com reported the patient was sexually assaulted by someone who had access to her at Hacienda Healthcare and workers didn't know she was pregnant until the baby was born on Dec. 29.
The mother and boy are being treated at Maricopa Medical Center.
Phoenix police are investigating and the Arizona Department of Health Services on Friday confirmed that the woman was a patient at Hacienda de los Angeles, according to AZCentral.com. It's a 60-bed intermediate care facility for people with intellectual disabilities.
"We are aware of this situation and are actively working with local law enforcement in their criminal investigation," a department statement says.
The Department of Economic Security, which serves disabled clients, also is investigating.
Founded as Hacienda de Los Angeles in 1967, the nonprofit company describes itself on its website as "the leading provider of specialized medical care and social services for Arizona's infants, children and young adults who are medically fragile or chronically ill, including those with developmental disabilities."
"We have recently become aware of a deeply disturbing incident involving the health and safety of a Hacienda resident," Hacienda HealthCare said in a statement. "While federal and state privacy laws prohibit us from publicly discussing a patient's health or case, Hacienda has and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement and all the relevant regulatory agencies regarding this matter."
Hacienda HealthCare said in 50 years of service in Arizona that "we have reliably and safely served thousands of residents and their families. We are proud of our record and our position as an industry leader in caring for the intellectually and developmentally disabled."
In December 2013, the state said the facility was out of compliance with federal Medicare and Social Security Act standards for staff training and staff treatment of clients. In one complaint, a staff member was making inappropriate sexual comments about the clients.
Patients who have intellectual disabilities, along with non-verbal patients, are easier targets of sexual abuse, Erica McFadden with the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council told KSAZ-TV. They "may not understand what good touch or bad touch is. May not understand the difference between a girlfriend or boyfriend or staff," she said.