The woman had been a patient in a clinic run by Hacienda HealthCare near Phoenix for over a decade and required round-the-clock care.
A Phoenix police spokesman told The Washington Post that the department is investigating but did not release details about the case. At the time, Hacienda Healthcare officials say it cannot comment specifically on the investigation, nor can it comment on the patient in this case, but the provider says it is conducting its own internal investigation, and cooperating with the police investigation.
The 29-year-old woman had been a patient at the Phoenix facility for more than a decade after nearly drowning, according to azfamily.com, two Meredith Corp. -owned TV stations that broke the story; police declined to provided NPR with details about their investigation.
Her identity hasn't been reported, and it's not known if she has a family or a guardian.
The woman said not one person reported the incident out of fear, adding that it is likely other forms of abuse took place over the years. "Trust has definitely been broken", Cesena said of the Hacienda facility.
In response, the Arizona Department of Economic Security and Phoenix police launched an investigation into the facility.
The tribe confirmed the events surrounding the birth at Hacienda HealthCare in a press release obtained by ABC15, saying the patient "has been in a persistent vegetative state and coma for over a decade".
The patient has been in a vegetative state for 14 years, since a near-drowning incident, KPHO noted.
Now, any male staff entering a female patient's room must be accompanied by a female staff member.
The Hacienda facility serves infants, children and young adults who are "medically fragile" or have developmental disabilities, according to its website. But one complaint from December 2013 outlines an allegation that a staff member made inappropriate sexual comments about four patients two months earlier.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS), which licenses the facility, said they were aware of the alleged incident and were "actively working with local law enforcement in their criminal investigation".
The health care facility has at least 74 patient beds, according to federal records. In 2017, state investigators determined that patients were not afforded sufficient privacy while naked or showering at the facility.
That staff member was ultimately terminated, but the state found that the facility "failed to ensure clients. were treated with dignity".
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