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Care workers' DNA to be taken in coma birth probe

By AP Reporters

American police have served a search warrant to get DNA from all male employees at a care facility in Arizona where a patient who was in a vegetative state gave birth.

Hacienda HealthCare, the company which owns the facility in Phoenix, said it welcomed the DNA testing of workers.

"We will continue to cooperate with Phoenix police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing but unprecedented situation," the company added.

Local news website reported the woman, who had been in a vegetative state for more than 10 years after a near-drowning, delivered a baby on December 29.

Officials with the San Carlos Apache tribe said the 29-year-old was a member of their group, whose reservation is in south-eastern Arizona about 134 miles east of Phoenix.

The woman was still in a vegetative state when she gave birth, the tribe added.

It is unclear if staff members at the facility were aware of her pregnancy until the birth.

"On behalf of the tribe, I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members," tribal chairman Terry Rambler said.

"When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers.

"Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her. It is my hope that justice will be served."

A lawyer for the woman's family said in a statement that her relatives were outraged at the "neglect". They also asked for privacy.

"The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for," Phoenix attorney John Micheaels said.

San Carlos Apache police chief Alejandro Benally said officers would "do all they can to find the perpetrator".

A spokesman for Hacienda HealthCare said investigators served a search warrant to obtain DNA samples from all male workers.

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