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Phoenix Hacienda HealthCare Victim's Attorney Files Civil Suit Against State, Doctors

It has been a year since an incapacitated woman at Hacienda HealthCare gave birth to a baby boy. The shocking delivery of her baby stunned the community. A month later, police arrested her alleged rapist, who was also her caregiver.

Now, the woman’s attorney has filed a lawsuit against the state and the two doctors who were treating her during that time.

The lawsuit was filed on Christmas Eve. The defendants are the state of Arizona, and the two doctors who were treating the young woman leading up to the birth of her baby.

Both doctors failed to notice her pregnancy, despite, a hardened mass in her abdomen, weight gain and other signs; she was instead treated for constipation, according to the notice of claim that was filed by the woman’s attorney in May.

The woman’s alleged rapist, Nathan Sutherland, has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual abuse and vulnerable adult abuse.

His trial is expected to start in February.

At least two stakeholder groups have issued recommendations on how to prevent abuse and neglect in vulnerable populations. 

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.