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Hacienda patient who had baby after rape sues state of Arizona, doctors

PHOENIX – The family of the incapacitated woman who gave birth after being raped at a Phoenix health care facility is suing the state of Arizona and her former doctors.

The 30-year-old woman, whose baby was delivered just over a year ago, and her parents are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Dec. 24 in Maricopa County Superior Court.

No dollar amount is listed in the lawsuit, which seeks compensation for injuries and damages as well as medical and court costs and other losses.

Dr. Phillip Gear Jr., Dr. Thanh Diep Nguyen and their wives are named as defendants along with the state. Just 4 Kids Pediatrics, which is Gear’s office, and Internal Medicine Consultants, where Nguyen worked, also were named as defendants.

The baby boy was born at the Hacienda HealthCare Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled, which receives state funding, on Dec. 29, 2018. Staff did not know she was pregnant until the woman went into labor.

Gear was the woman’s primary care physician from 1992, when she entered the facility at 3 years old, until September 2018, when Nguyen became her primary doctor, according to the lawsuit.

Both doctors are accused of failing to ensure that the victim was cared for only by female staffers. Nguyen is accused of failing to diagnose the pregnancy.

The lawsuit accuses the state of negligence, negligence per se and gross negligence. The doctors and their offices are accused of medical negligence.

The plaintiffs say the state was responsible for protecting the victim and was negligent in monitoring Hacienda HealthCare, and the doctors failed to provide appropriate health care.

Gear has since agreed to give up his medical license. In October, the Arizona Medical Board narrowly approved the dismissal of a complaint against Nguyen.

The victim was believed to have been sexually assaulted, along with four other disabled residents, in 2002, according to the lawsuit. After that she was only supposed to be cared for by female staffers or males accompanied by females.

However, unaccompanied men, including Nathan Sutherland, were assigned to take care of her without her parents’ knowledge, the suit says.

Sutherland, a nurse at the facility, was arrested in January, when investigators said his DNA matched the baby’s.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual abuse and abuse of a vulnerable adult, and his trial is scheduled to start Feb. 25.

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