April exam found no signs of preg­nancy in co­matose woman

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION & WORLD -

PHOENIX — An Ari­zona woman in a veg­e­ta­tive state who was sex­u­ally as­saulted and had a baby re­ceived a med­i­cal exam nearly nine months be­fore giv­ing birth, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

The woman’s mother sub­mit­ted an an­nual re­port as re­quired by state law that in­cluded re­sults of a phys­i­cal done April 16 at a Phoenix long-term care fa­cil­ity where the 29-year-old pa­tient lives.

The doc­tor who ex­am­ined her found “no change” in her health, ac­cord­ing to the form, and wrote that the exam was ex­ter­nal only. Po­lice said it ap­pears that none of the fa­cil­ity’s staff mem­bers knew about the preg­nancy un­til the Dec. 29 birth, a no­tion that has drawn skep­ti­cism.

But it’s pos­si­ble there were no out­ward signs that would be no­ticed, es­pe­cially by staffers who don’t work with preg­nant pa­tients, doc­tors say. The woman has tubes to feed her and help her breathe.

While fac­tors re­main un­known, such as how far along she was, some­one who is fed the same amount from a tube every day might not show any dra­matic changes, one doc­tor said.

The mother could lose weight in her face or arms if a fe­tus were con­sum­ing nu­tri­ents, the doc­tor added.

The rev­e­la­tion that an in­ca­pac­i­tated woman was raped in­side a care fa­cil­ity has hor­ri­fied the com­mu­nity. The provider’s CEO re­signed this week, and the cen­ter has made safety changes.

Phoenix po­lice learned of the sit­u­a­tion when they re­ceived a call on Dec. 29 about a new­born in dis­tress. Of­fi­cers launched a sex crime in­ves­ti­ga­tion when it was de­ter­mined the mother was in a veg­e­ta­tive state.

The baby and the woman are re­cov­er­ing at an area hos­pi­tal, and their con­di­tions were not re­leased.

Her fam­ily, who are mem­bers of the San Car­los Apache tribe in south­east­ern Ari­zona, said that they will care for the baby boy.

It’s pos­si­ble the woman won’t have any ad­di­tional long-term com­pli­ca­tions from giv­ing birth. Phoenix po­lice, mean­while, have not ruled out any sus­pects in the as­sault. They are gath­er­ing DNA sam­ples from the fa­cil­ity’s male staffers and have ap­pealed to the pub­lic for any in­for­ma­tion.

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