Au­dio re­lays shock, panic as woman in coma gives birth

The Columbus Dispatch - - Nation&world - By Terry Tang

PHOENIX — Pan­ick­ing staff mem­bers at a longterm-care fa­cil­ity scram­bled to save a baby born to an Ari­zona woman in a veg­e­ta­tive state amid their shock to learn she was preg­nant, ac­cord­ing to dra­matic 911 au­dio re­leased Fri­day.

The five min­utes of au­dio from the Dec. 29 birth starts with a fran­tic nurse at the Phoenix fa­cil­ity yelling, “The baby’s turn­ing blue! The baby’s turn­ing blue!”

“One of our pa­tients just had a baby, and we had no idea she was preg­nant,” the nurse said.

She then says the mother ap­peared sta­ble but care work­ers were ad­min­is­ter­ing CPR to the in­fant. When the dis­patcher asked how far along the mother was in her preg­nancy, the nurse re­peated that it was a shock to ev­ery­one.

“This is a com­plete sur­prise. We were not ex­pect­ing this,” she said.

Within a few min­utes, the nurse ex­pressed re­lief, say­ing “thank God” the baby was now breath­ing and cry­ing.

Since that day, the woman and the baby boy have been re­cov­er­ing at a hospi­tal. Their con­di­tions have not been re­leased.

The 29-year-old woman, who has been in­ca­pac­i­tated since age 3, was sex­u­ally as­saulted, po­lice say, and they are try­ing to track down the as­sailant. In­ves­ti­ga­tors are col­lected DNA from the fa­cil­ity’s male em­ploy­ees and any­one else who may have had con­tact with her.

The rev­e­la­tion that an in­ca­pac­i­tated woman was raped in­side a care fa­cil­ity has hor­ri­fied ad­vo­cates for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and the com­mu­nity at large. The CEO of Ha­cienda Health­care re­signed this week as the provider an­nounced new safety mea­sures. The fa­cil­ity spe­cial­izes in pro­vid­ing around-the-clock care for in­fants, chil­dren and young adults with de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties or who are “med­i­cally frag­ile.”

The woman’s fam­ily — mem­bers of the San Car­los Apache tribe in Ari­zona — said they will care for the in­fant boy and have asked for pri­vacy.

The no­tion that none of the woman’s care­givers knew she was preg­nant has drawn skep­ti­cism. But some­one who is fed the same amount from a tube ev­ery day might not show any dra­matic changes, like a swollen belly, said Dr. C. Kevin Huls, a clin­i­cal as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor and ma­ter­nalfe­tal-medicine fel­low­ship di­rec­tor at the Uni­ver­sity of Ari­zona Col­lege of Medicine-phoenix.

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