Comatose woman who gave birth at care center was sexually assaulted and impregnated multiple times, alleges family
36-year-old Nathan Sutherland was apprehended after DNA tests conducted across the particular branch of Hacienda HealthCare Facility identified him as the newborn's father
The family of the comatose woman who gave birth to a child after allegedly being raped by a nurse at a healthcare facility reportedly said that the victim was sexually assaulted repeatedly and had possibly been pregnant before, according to recently filed court documents.
A notice of claim was filed late Wednesday in Arizona against the state, proposing a $45 million settlement to a civil lawsuit that the relatives of the woman are preparing.
The victim, who has been in a coma for the past 26 years, was 29 at the time of her child's birth in December.
Police officials in Arizona had launched a sexual assault investigation after a comatose patient gave birth.
The staff at Hacienda HealthCare had been giving the female patient round-the-clock care.
The patient, who has not been identified, was admitted to the medical facility in 1992 after a near-drowning.
According to sources close to the healthcare facility, the patient gave birth to the child on December 29 and the infant is believed to be alive and healthy.
According to the notice of claim obtained by People, the staffers at Phoenix-based Hacienda HealthCare allegedly diagnosed her pregnancy incorrectly on multiple occasions and even prescribed her laxatives at one point for the mass in her stomach.
The victim, according to her medical records, "lacks sufficient understanding and mental capacity to make decisions or give consents for her medical, placement or financial estate” and suffers from quadriplegia, recurrent pneumonia, and a seizure disorder.
According to the notice, the medical staff at Hacienda HealthCare, on at least 83 opportunities, misdiagnosed her pregnancy. The court filing alleges that the victim did not menstruate in the months leading up the delivery of the baby.
The staffers, according to the documents, noted a "large and hard mass" in her abdomen. Her stomach was also characterized as "distended" during 24 examinations.
The medical records also suggest that the staffers noticed her legs and feet were swollen 12 times, and despite the fact that she was on a feeding tube, they documented changes in her weight eight times.
The victim's family has also alleged in the filings that they had specifically requested for only female nurses to care for the woman and, despite that, at least two male nurses tended to her, which includes her alleged rapist.
The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland, was arrested earlier this year and has pleaded not guilty to his charges.
He is reportedly facing one charge of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.
Sutherland was apprehended after DNA tests conducted across the particular branch of Hacienda HealthCare Facility identified him as the newborn's father. He has reportedly worked at the facility for eight years.