New Mexico residents who are worried about nursing home abuse should be aware of a case where an incapacitated woman gave birth in a health care facility in Arizona. A medical exam found that she had suffered sexual assault. Her attorneys are seeking a settlement for the victim and her parents with the intention of going to court if an agreement can not be reached. A separate case was opened against the health care facility’s nurse, who was charged with sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse after a paternity test matched his DNA to the baby.

The victim has lived in a health care facility since she suffered a near drowning when she was a young child. The health care facility’s employees explained that they were surprised and shocked when the victim, who is unable to move without assistance and cannot speak, went into labor. The claim that she was abused is supported by documents such as medical records from the year prior to the birth that describe her condition, stating that she cannot sit without assistance and is unable to stand or walk. At that time, she was not making eye contact or smiling, and was defensive when touched.

A separate document appears to state that her family members requested only female staff be responsible for the victim’s personal care. Personal care includes the use of a toilet, menses care, bathing and dressing. They also requested 24-hour supervision. Unfortunately, when the woman’s stomach began to grow and she began to gain weight, the facility responded by reducing her caloric intake.

People who are concerned a loved one is being mistreated by a facility may want to reach out to an attorney with experience in handling neglect and abuse cases. Legal counsel could help prove that a nursing staff is mistreating the family member, and this may lead to compensation for damages.