Residents of North Carolina who are concerned about neglect and abuse in health care facilities should be aware of a disturbing case in which a vulnerable patient gave birth in an Arizona nursing home. A subsequent medical exam discovered that she had suffered sexual assault at the hands of a male employee. Her attorneys planned on going to court if an agreement on a settlement for the victim and her parents could not be reached, and a separate case was opened against the nurse who assaulted her. It was proven that he was the father of the baby after a paternity test.
The victim suffered a near drowning when she was 3 years old and has lived in a health care facility since. Documents from the health care facility the year before the birth state that the victim had been defensive when touched and was unable to smile or make eye contact with the employees. Another document suggests her family requested that only female staff be responsible for her personal care, such as bathing and dressing. They also requested that she be supervised at all times.
The health care facility's employees stated they had no idea that the victim, who cannot move without assistance or speak, was pregnant until she went into labor. The health care facility's response to her weight gain and distended abdomen was to reduce her caloric intake instead of running tests. The victim's lawyers state that the facility was neglectful and missed 83 opportunities to notice she was pregnant.
Families of health care facility patients who are concerned that their loved ones are being neglected or abused may consider consulting an attorney with experience in nursing home neglect. A qualified attorney may be able to help the family prove that the victim is indeed being mistreated, which may lead to compensation such as pain and suffering, medical expenses and other damages.