Medical: No Sexual Escape even in a vegetative state – By Yvonne Sam

By Yvonne Sam – R. N BSc.N.  MEd.  S.C.M   R.M.N

If you cannot be a nurse then pray to God you don’t become a curse. Nursing is synonymous with caring not fearing.

The report of a woman who has been in a vegetative state giving birth at a long term healthcare care facility in Arizona is not only disturbing, repulsive and outrageously gut wrenching, but at the selfsame time deals a black eye to all adherents of the Hippocratic and Nightingalean Oaths, in addition to further highlighting the issue of the racial divide existing in the U.S.A.

The 29 year old victim was a Native American of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.  No other term should be applied to this case but outright rape, as common sense dictates that a woman in that condition is totally unable to give consent to sexual intercourse, irregardless of what form it takes.  Now after DNA samplings of all male staff associated with caring for the patient, Nathan Sutherland a 36 year old Licensed Practical Nurse has been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.     

The birth of this unfortunate infant and the vegetative state of the mother has not only opened the eyes of the world, but has also brought representatives of the homo sapiens genre into a reflective mode regarding their roles as humans and interaction with each other. According to Disability Rights Organization individuals with disabilities are sexually abused at  almost three times the rate of the general population

(other groups say rates of sexual assault and rape are twice as high for those with disabilities

Nevertheless, people who live with disabilities are targeted for sexual abuse more often than those without. The Hacienda HealthCare facility has stated that since the arrest of the accused, one doctor has resigned and another suspended, both of whom were responsible for the care of the woman

Some people have said that heads should roll. I totally disagree with such a measure, demanding instead for the entire facility to fold, and the medical and nursing team especially be retrained, and rebrained before they ever regain their licence to practice.  Imagine being subjected to care so brutally negligent that an entire pregnancy, normally of 40 weeks duration, ran its course totally unnoticed by humans tasked with her care and occupying planet Earth. How much attention did she receive on an ongoing basis from trained personnel that no one observed the widening abdominal girth so indicative of either pregnancy or an abdominal mass? What about her breasts?

According to OB/GYN Dr. Greg Marchand, who was in no way involved with the care of the patient, although the victim was in a vegetative state she was still able to feel pain during the baby’s birth.  He further pointed out that, unlike traditional childbirth, the woman in the vegetative state would not have been able to push the baby out, giving room for the potential of severe complications or even fetal death.

Another investigation could well be underway spearheaded by  The Arizona Center for Disability Law,  a nonprofit law firm that receives federal funds and “dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals with a wide range of physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory and cognitive disabilities. According to spokesperson Janet Rico” Were there other physical signs that someone failed to recognize or take action on earlier than her actually giving birth?”

To add more fire to the ongoing fury the long term prognosis for the baby though alive is not entirely favourable.  At birth the baby coded and had to have resuscitative measures instituted.  For most of her life the mother was receiving Phenobarbital 90 milligrams twice daily,  a barbiturate used to control her seizures, and one which would put most people to sleep most of the time.  While it is not known to cause any side effects, nevertheless it can be very sedating for the baby.

Dr. Mark Wellek said that Phenobarbital and other medications that the mother was receiving, could cause serious developmental problems in the baby from attention deficit disorder, to severe mental disabilities. And because the baby had to be resuscitated at birth, he said the risk is even greater He said these symptoms likely won’t show up until between the ages of 4 and 7, but even with the baby brought back to life, the challenges likely have only just begun. “Huge. Not just a problem, huge. And if this baby grows up just slightly delayed, that would be a miracle,” said Wellek.

If a  privately owned healthcare facility that touts itself as being an industry leader in caring for the intellectually and developmentally challenged, employ caregivers that fail to notice an ongoing pregnancy in one of their charges, only at the time of birth, then pray tell me how well are the other patients faring? Incidentally where were the doctors at the facility?  According to Hippocrates the father of medicine: First do no harm.  Did the doctors fail to notice the alarm.

It is blatantly apparent that the State of Arizona was also negligent in ensuring that residents of their healthcare facilities are dwelling in facilities that totally respected the standards set by law.

As a devoted member of the healthcare profession I am left still wondering how many others victims, still residing at Hacienda HealthCare facility or any other facility elsewhere on this planet unable to care or defend themselves will suffer a similar fate.

Defenseless females must be protected from rape, for  sex without consent is evil bent.

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  • Francis Quamina Farrier  On 02/02/2019 at 10:04 am

    This is really not an attempt to up-stage that horrific story, but three years ago at East Canje Berbice, Guyana,there was an incident in which a rapist removed the corpse of a freshly-buried woman from her tomb and did the act. In relating this ghastly crime, I think it necessary, Ms Sam, to point out how much hurt such stories do to decent men, since it is sometimes believed that “all men are dogs”.There are hardly any stories of HEROIC acts by decent men who PROTECT women and girls from rapists.

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