Court records in the case of a woman in a long-term vegetative state who gave birth last month in an Arizona nursing facility reveal that her last doctor’s examination took place more than eight months prior to the birth, PEOPLE confirms.
In addition, those records show the 29-year-old Native American woman has been a resident of the facility run by Hacienda HeathCare for more than 27 years, almost double the length of time that appeared in previous reports.
The records obtained by PEOPLE from Maricopa County Superior Court date back to a 2009 order that transferred guardianship of the woman from her biological father to her mother.
Those documents state that in affirming the need to continue guardianship for the woman, she “lacks sufficient understanding and mental capacity to make decisions or give consents for her medical, placement or financial estate.”
A report from April 2009 further states that an investigator at the time “interviewed” the woman at the long-term care facility where she has lived since 1992 and found her “severely developmentally disabled” and in need of “total care.” The report added: “She is unable to communicate and requires a maximum level of assistance with all activities of daily living.”
RELATED: ‘Hard to Believe’ No One at Ariz. Nursing Facility Knew Woman in Coma Was Pregnant: Expert
Phoenix police have confirmed a sexual assault investigation concerning the woman’s pregnancy that resulted in the Dec. 29 birth of a baby boy — a birth that, according to Sgt, Tommy Thompson, “took everyone by surprise.”
Thompson tells PEOPLE: “It’s my impression that the staff there had no clue that this lady was having a baby.”
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According to the documents, the woman suffers from quadriplegia, recurrent pneumonia and a seizure disorder.
Even so, an annual guardian’s report filed with the court and dated April 30, 2018, says that the woman’s last court-ordered annual doctor’s examination took place on April 16, 2018.
“No changes,” says a handwritten note in response to a form question asking whether there have been “any major changes in the ward’s physical and/or mental condition in the last year.”
PEOPLE was unable to reach the doctor who performed the examination.
RELATED: Ariz. Sheriff Says ‘No Words to Describe’ Sexual Assault of Woman in Coma: ‘Horrific Event’
Police and Hacienda HealthCare both have confirmed the collection of DNA from male staffers in an effort to find a link to the apparent assault of the woman, who is recovering wth her child in an area hospital, say police.
Several factors could have led to the woman’s condition being overlooked, says Dr. Mark Ashley, the CEO and founder of the California-based Centre for Neuro Skills who sits on the board of the Brain Injury Association of America, and is not involved in the current case.
While care of such patients is overseen by …read more