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Medical Justice

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Legal

Who’s Your Daddy?

01/28/19 9:15 AM


I may not be clairvoyant. But I know one family that will receive a gigantic check soon.

A 29-year-old woman had been in a persistent vegetative state for about ten years. She was involved in a near drowning incident.

Unbeknownst to the staff at Hacienda Healthcare, a long-term care facility, the patient was pregnant. She started to moan and gave birth on December 29th.

An attorney for the woman’s family said in a statement to NBC affiliate 12News in Phoenix that the family is not emotionally ready to make a public statement, but that “the family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for.”

“The family obviously is outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda HealthCare,” the attorney said.

Yes, how did a patient in a persistent vegetative state at a long-term care facility get pregnant?

Police in Phoenix executed a search warrant looking for DNA samples from male staff members.

“We had consulted attorneys to determine whether it would be legal for our company to compel our employees to undergo DNA testing conducted through Hacienda or for Hacienda to conduct voluntary genetic testing of staffers,” the facility said in a statement. “We were told it would be a violation of federal law in either instance.”

The CEO of Hacienda resigned.

The patient was raped, plain and simple. This is a criminal offense and the perpetrator should be identified and charged. It may have been a staff member. It may have been a visitor. If the latter, how can one protect against this? Not easy.

Hacienda will likely have to write a big check, the sooner the better. They will also need to come up with a plan to assure the public and regulators that their vulnerable patients will not be sexually abused or raped.

What do you think?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeffrey Segal, MD, JD

Dr. Jeffrey Segal, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Medical Justice, is a board-certified neurosurgeon. In the process of conceiving, funding, developing, and growing Medical Justice, Dr. Segal has established himself as one of the country’s leading authorities on medical malpractice issues, counterclaims, and internet-based assaults on reputation.

Dr. Segal holds a M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, where he also completed a neurosurgical residency. Dr. Segal served as a Spinal Surgery Fellow at The University of South Florida Medical School. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa as well as the AOA Medical Honor Society. Dr. Segal received his B.A. from the University of Texas and graduated with a J.D. from Concord Law School with highest honors.

Dr. Segal is also a partner at Byrd Adatto, a national business and health care law firm. With over 50 combined years of experience in serving doctors, dentists, and other providers, Byrd Adatto has a national pedigree to address most legal issues that arise in the business and practice of medicine.

If you have a medico-legal question, write to Medical Justice at infonews@medicaljustice.com.

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steven teitelbaumFemale docDr Jane DoeJay HarmsCarla Schlissel Recent comment authors
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retired
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retired

The news indicated that one of the male nurses was at fault. They figured this out by employment patterns and logs, and which male employees had access to the patient. They had the child’s DNA already. They were able to narrow the list of suspects down considerably with plain old good police work without the DNA at the early stages. I suspect that when they got down to the last few, they gave them a choice of donating DNA or get turned over to the prosecutor for indictment. I think that is how they got down to confirming the one… Read more »

I have ssen this before.
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I have ssen this before.

Does the biologic father have more rights and responsibilities than family of the biologic mother. Also who has guardianship of this individual. Is it the state guardian ship service or is it an individual in a family who pays her bills? Also who has guardianship of this individual. Is it the state guardianship service or is it an individual in a family who pays her bills? Who decides the custody of the newborn?

retired
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retired

The other question is why is the facility on the hook financially for the rape of one of their charges by one of their employees. They screen their employees I am sure and with no aberrant background there was no reason to suspect that the mail nurse was a rapist or was going to become a racist. Would security cameras have prevented this? Unlikely. So where did the facility err? Why are they responsible for an employee’s behavior that was outside of what they hired the nurse to do?

Carla Schlissel
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Carla Schlissel

In response to the last question, it’s the same reason that I, as an employer, am responsible for anything my staff may say or do. They are under my direct supervision, so if they tell a patient to use a jack to prop open their mouth to make it easier to brush their teeth, and the patient does this and is injured by it, I am responsible. Same thing here. The male nurse is employed by, and therefore under the supervision of the nursing home, who is now responsible. The nurse should be, at least privately, identified and fired.

Jay Harms
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Jay Harms

Because this is America and someONE is always to blame.

steven teitelbaum
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steven teitelbaum

I hope Hacienda doesn’t have to write a big check to the family unless they are found to have done something negligent. Having an employee commit a criminal act does not in itself show negligence. It isn’t tenable to expect employers to be responsible for all damages done by the unanticipatable criminal act of an employee. Speaking as a human being and not a lawyer i believe the facility should only have liability if they were negligent. For instance, was this guy a known sexual predator and did they not do a reasonable background check when they hired him? If… Read more »

Dr Jane Doe
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Dr Jane Doe

are you kidding me, IF the facility did nothing wrong?!?!?! how about total failure of medical and even basic custodial care? ya did not notice she did not have a menstrual period? ya did not notice she was consistently gaining weight , breasts enlarging, and how about the shape of an enlarging gravid abdomen say from week 12 to week 40???? every care giver, every assistant, every nurse, and even the PHYSICIANS???? no exam over 40 weeks? its MUCH MORE than “just a rape” that TOO! but the other commenters and article have covered the unequivocal wrongness of the rape… Read more »

Female doc
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Female doc

The LTAC and management ARE responsible. (It is ludicrous if the CEO can just resign and go on their merry way—hope this is not the case) The patient under their care is under the category of “vulnerable”. This is like a daycare. Children are vulnerable and a person in a persistent vegetative state should probably be in the same category—-unable to protect ones self. Any organization with responsibility and being PAID to keep and supervise individuals who are “vulnerable” should have specific policies and practices in place. I think it would be necessary to have a more detailed log (along… Read more »

steven teitelbaum
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steven teitelbaum

I brought up the issues of the periods/weight gain/body changes. I may not have stated it clearly but i’m splitting this case into two issues: the rape and the delay in recognition of the pregnancy. If an orderly, nurse, or doctor closes a curtain for five minutes, how the heck should the facility know, and what could they reasonably do to prevent that from occurring? Unless i know more it’s hard to see how they should be responsible for that. But i’m perplexed with how they could have not realized something like this was going on. What level of care… Read more »

steven teitelbaum
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steven teitelbaum

just to continue…that they were almost certainly negligent in diagnosing the pregnancy but that the rape may be a purely criminal act for which they are not negligent. that of course remains to be seen. i wish there were more details.