Nursing Facility Unit Will Shut Down After Incapacitated Woman Gave Birth

Photo: Ross D Franklin/AP/REX/Shutterstock

A unit of an Arizona care facility, where a woman gave birth after having been in an incapacitated state, announced on Thursday that it will officially shut down.

According to a statement obtained by Fox10, officials with Hacienda HealthCare said that its board of directors voted to close its Phoenix intermediate care unit. Officials also said that they were working on a plan to move 37 patients to other centers, and that the skilled nursing unit of the facility will remain open.

“We will continue to work with these agencies in the weeks and months ahead to ensure an appropriate and safe transition moving forward,” the provider said in a statement to the Associated Press. “The care of our patients remains our top priority and we will do everything in our power to ensure a smooth transition for them and their families.”

Last month, police arrested a 36-year-old male nurse on suspicion of sexually assaulting and impregnating the woman.

Nathan Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse who was caring for the woman at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix, was arrested and taken into custody on Tuesday on preliminary charges of sexual assault and vulnerable-adult abuse, CNN reports.

Phoenix police Sergeant Tommy Thompson said that Sutherland’s DNA “matched the baby” when crime lab technicians tested it.

Authorities had launched a sexual-assault investigation when the 29-year-old woman, who had been a patient at the facility since she became incapacitated at age 3, gave birth in December. Though initial reports stated that the woman was in a vegetative state, her family attorney has since said that she has “significant intellectual disabilities,” and court documents obtained by People found that she suffers from quadriplegia, recurrent pneumonia, and a seizure disorder, and doesn’t have the capacity to make decisions or give consent. Police had obtained a search warrant for DNA samples from male staff members at Hacienda HealthCare, which they used to identify Sutherland.

According to ABC15, Sutherland had been working at the facility since 2011, and was one of the caretakers responsible for the woman at the time the incident occurred. He is expected to be charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.

Days after the incident came to light, Hacienda HealthCare CEO, Bill Timmons, resigned, and earlier this week, two physicians who were responsible for the woman’s care are no longer providing services at the facility. (One physician resigned, while the other was suspended.)

According to the Associated Press, Sutherland pleaded not guilty earlier this week to sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse.

This post has been updated throughout.

Arizona Facility Closes After Incapacitated Woman Gave Birth