Male nurse arrested for allegedly impregnating Native woman in vegetative state
A 36-year-old male nurse has been arrested in connection to the impregnation of a San Carlos Apache woman who was a patient in a vegetative state, being cared for at a long-term care nursing facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
Nathan Sutherland is the individual arrested in connection to the allegations of sexually assaulting the woman, who later became pregnant and gave birth to a child. Previously, nurses at the facility claimed that they did not know that the patient was pregnant until she began moaning and shortly thereafter gave birth.
See Related Coverage: Native woman in coma gives birth at health facility, DNA sought from male staff
Local authorities in Phoenix then sought DNA samples from male staff members at the Hacienda Healthcare facility, and Sutherland was then arrested after his DNA matched the DNA of the baby.
According to a report by CNN, “Sutherland's DNA "matched the baby" when crime lab technicians tested it Tuesday, Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.”
The incident began to unfold on December 29th, when caretakers at the facility called 911 and informed the dispatcher that they did not even know the patient was pregnant.
The San Carlos Apache tribal chairman later reported publicly that the woman was a member of the tribe. The patient had been in a vegetative state for years and has stayed under care at the facility since 1992. She is now 29-years-old.
Since the incident, two doctors at the facility are no longer working there. One has resigned, and another was suspended.
Hacienda Healthcare has hired an attorney, who has served as a former prosecutor, and they have hired a third-party company to oversee operations including several other facilities.
Authorities have also previously stated that the baby was ‘in distress’ at the time of birth, but now report improvements to the baby’s welfare.
Thompson has also reported to CNN, “The baby, I am told, is doing quite well.”
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This story has been edited from its original form. Initial reports on the woman stated that she was a victim of a drowning accident, that has since been retracted.