Two doctors leave clinic where vegetative woman had baby

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Two doctors no longer work at the Arizona nursing home where a patient in a vegetative state gave birth.

One doctor has been suspended, and another has resigned from the Hacienda Healthcare clinic near Phoenix.

The 29-year-old patient, who has reportedly been in the care of the clinic since she was a toddler, went into labour on 29 December last year.

A police investigation into the sexual assault was launched, and DNA samples were collected from male staff.

Staff at the facility said they didn't realised the woman was pregnant until she started giving birth, at which point they called the emergency services.

After the birth the patient and her baby - a boy - were transferred to a different hospital.

On its website, Hacienda HealthCare says it provides care for "medically fragile and chronically ill infants, children, teens, and young adults as well as those with intellectual and developmental disabilities".

The female victim, who has not been identified, is said to have been admitted to the nursing home after a near-drowning incident as a child.

"Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathy to the client and her family," the clinic told CBS's KPHO-TV.

"Hacienda intends to do everything possible to restore its credibility in the eyes of our patients, families, the community and our agency partners at every level."

'Shocked and horrified'

Lawyer John Micheaels, representing the woman's family, told the Arizona Republic last week that the woman is not in a coma, but she does have "significant intellectual disabilities".

"She has feelings and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family," he added.

She doesn't speak, he said, but she can respond to sounds and make facial gestures.

The relatives, who say they are not ready to come forward, asked for it to be conveyed publicly that the child has been "born into a loving family and will be well cared for".

The woman is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, according to a statement released by tribal leaders on 8 January.

"I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members," Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler said.

"When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers. Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her."

The nursing home said it had sought legal advice over the possibility of mandatory DNA testing for staff, but was advised it would violate federal law.

Arizona Department of Health Services said additional safety measures have been implemented at the home since the case came to light.