Nurse Arrested After Woman In Vegetative State Gives Birth

Maricopa County Sheriff via ABC News

An arrest was made after a woman in a vegetative state gave birth at a Phoenix hospital. 

According to ABC News, 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland was arrested after investigators found a match between his DNA sample and the baby's. He was booked without bond on Tuesday and faces one count of vulnerable adult abuse and one count of sexual assault. 

Authorities say he was responsible for caring for the woman during the time the alleged abuse happened. He was terminated from the hospital the moment leadership learned of his arrest.   

Since news broke that this woman gave birth, people have been questioning what state she is in (due to privacy for the victim and lack of details made public). Her family, however, wants to make it clear that their daughter is not in a coma. 

"She has significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures very early in her childhood," the family's attorney said in a statement. "She does not speak but has some ability to move her limbs, head, and neck. Their daughter responds to sound and is able to make facial gestures. The important thing is that she is a beloved daughter, albeit with significant intellectual disabilities. She has feelings, likes to be read to, enjoys soft music, and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family." 

The victim has been a patient at Hacienda Healthcare for at least 10 years after a near-drowning incident left her in a vegetative state. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy on December 29, but no one at the hospital even knew she was pregnant. 

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