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Bodycam shows start of Phoenix police investigation at care facility where incapacitated woman gave birth

It was later learned that a male nurse at the facility sexually assaulted the vulnerable adult.

PHOENIX — An incapacitated woman gave birth at Hacienda Healthcare in December of 2018. Staff there did not know she was pregnant until she was in labor.

After several years, the 12News I-Team has obtained footage from the Phoenix Police Department showing the start of their investigation at the facility. 

RELATED: 'The victim was failed by so many': Former nurse who raped, impregnated incapacitated woman sentenced to 10 years in prison

It started when a frantic 911 call came into authorities.

“Someone just had a baby, one of our patients just had a baby, and we had no idea she was pregnant," the caller said.

It was clear from the beginning the patient had been raped. She was 29 years old at the time and had been living at Hacienda since she was three. She was in a quadriplegic, unresponsive state.

“Nurse, primary care physician, we need to get all their information and all of them separated," a responding officer said on the body-worn camera. 

As offices walked through the facility, you can hear the sounds of crying and confusion from staff.

“We’re gonna try to figure out what’s going on," an officer said.

In the distance, you see Phoenix fire crews going in and out of a room.

“She never goes home?” the office asked an employee.

“As far as I know I’ve never seen her go home at all," the employee said.

“Do they have like a sign-in log?" an officer asked.,

"Yeah we have a sign-in log in the front," said an employee.

"Do you guys have any male, because what we’re trying to figure out is..." the officer said.

"Yeah I understand," the employee responded. "We have male staff but ****** is only female care only."

"So no males ever go into her room, allegedly?" the officer asked.

"No," said the employee.

RELATED: Former Hacienda Healthcare nurse pleads guilty to sexual abuse after incapacitated patient gives birth

Police would soon find out that was not true. Despite the patient's file stating she should only have female caregivers, she was sexually assaulted by Nathan Sutherland, a male nurse working in the facility.

DNA confirmed Sutherland was responsible and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“Our hearts continue to go out to the family and friends and the staff that that were impacted by that," said David Voepel, the CEO of Arizona's Health Care Association.

Voepel said the incident at Hacienda impacted the health-care community. He noted AHCCCS' creation of an Abuse and Neglect Prevention Task Force.

"It opened our eyes even a little bit more, that we have to be even more secure than what we really are," Voepel said.

Following the incident, the patient's family settled with the state, two doctors responsible for her care, and Hacienda.

The legislature passed a bill no longer allowing intermediate care facilities to operate without a state license and bolstered background checks for those caring for vulnerable adults.

“We're in a profession, and that is humans taking care of humans, mistakes are going to be made," Voepel said. "However, you can train, you can do different things, and you can educate.”

Hacienda continues its operations and is licensed by the state. According to the state's health department, Hacienda has had two onsite surveys done at their facility this year. In both cases, no deficiencies were found.


Learn more about other 12News investigations by subscribing to the 12News YouTube channel and watching our I-Team playlist. 

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