| 7.2°C Belfast

Arizona care facility to shut down after incapacitated woman gave birth

The woman, who had lived at the facility since the age of three, gave birth on December 29.

Close

The Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix (AP Photo/Matt York, file)

The Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix (AP Photo/Matt York, file)

The Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix (AP Photo/Matt York, file)

A long-term care facility in Arizona where an incapacitated woman was raped and later gave birth has announced it will shut down.

Officials with Hacienda HealthCare said its board of directors had determined it was not sustainable to keep operating its intermediate care facility in Phoenix.

It serves infants, children and young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities who require a high level of medical care.

Hacienda officials said they were working with state agencies to develop a plan to move 37 patients to other centres. Its skilled nursing facility will stay open.

“We will continue to work with these agencies in the weeks and months ahead to ensure an appropriate and safe transition moving forward,” the provider said in a statement.

Close

Nathan Sutherland is accused of raping and impregnating a patient at Hacienda HealthCare (Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)

Nathan Sutherland is accused of raping and impregnating a patient at Hacienda HealthCare (Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)

AP/PA Images

Nathan Sutherland is accused of raping and impregnating a patient at Hacienda HealthCare (Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)

“The care of our patients remains our top priority and we will do everything in our power to ensure a smooth transition for them and their families.”

State regulators, meanwhile, called the decision “disturbing news” and not in the best interest of patients.

“We encourage Hacienda to work with the state to find a path forward,” the Arizona Department of Economic Security said.

“State agencies are exhausting all efforts to bring this to a conclusion that is beneficial to the patients, some of whom have been at this facility nearly their entire lives.”

The state had ordered Hacienda to hire a third-party management team to oversee daily operations after the revelation that an incapacitated woman who had lived at the facility since the age of three had given birth on December 29. But Hacienda and the outside party could not come to a long-term agreement.

Authorities have charged Nathan Sutherland, a former licensed nurse, with sexually assaulting the 29-year-old victim. They determined his DNA matched a sample taken from the newborn boy.

Sutherland, 36, pleaded not guilty earlier this week to sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse.

PA