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Hacienda patient isn’t comatose or in vegetative state, lawyer says

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PHOENIX — The woman who gave birth at Hacienda HealthCare last month is not comatose or in a vegetative state, the family’s lawyer said in a statement Tuesday.

Attorney John Micheaels said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM that the 29-year-old woman, incapacitated since she was 3, has “significant intellectual disabilities” as a result of early childhood seizures.

The woman is not able to speak, but has some ability to move her limbs, head and neck, responds to sound and is able to make facial gestures.

“The important thing is that she is a beloved daughter, albeit with significant intellectual disabilities,” Micheaels said in a statement.

“She has feelings, likes to be read to, enjoys soft music, and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family.”

Micheaels first confirmed the accuracy of the statement to KTAR News on Sunday after it was reported by the Arizona Republic on Friday.

A Hacienda HealthCare spokesman told KTAR News on Sunday that the facility is unable to comment on the woman’s condition due to federal regulations.

The woman gave birth at the Phoenix facility on Dec. 29, prompting a sexual assault investigation at the long-term care center. Two doctors who cared for the woman have since left the facility.

The San Carlos Apache Tribe, of which the victim is a member, said in a press release earlier this month that the woman “has been in a persistent vegetative state and coma for over a decade.”

Phoenix police, which is leading the sexual assault investigation, has said the woman was in a vegetative state.

The center launched an internal review into the incident led by former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley last week.

Phoenix police took DNA swabs from male employees earlier this month.

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