Facility Where Severely Disabled Arizona Woman Was Impregnated Will Close

(CNN) — The group that operates an Arizona health care facility where a severely disabled woman was impregnated last year will close the unit, Hacienda HealthCare said Thursday.

“It is simply not sustainable to continue to operate our intermediate care facility for the intellectually disabled,” it said.

There are 37 patients at the facility, the company said.

Hacienda said its board voted last week on the change and it has been working with state agencies on a transition plan.

Earlier this week, the former Hacienda HealthCare nurse accused of sexual assault in the case pleaded not guilty in a Maricopa County court.

Nathan Sutherland, 36, is being held on $500,000 bail and will make his next court appearance during a March 19 pretrial conference, said Maricopa County Superior Court spokesman Bryan Bouchard.

The alleged victim, who CNN is not naming because police are investigating the case as a sexual assault, had been at the long-term-care facility since 1992. She has been relocated.

Now 29, her family says she suffers significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures during her childhood. Though the bedridden woman is nonverbal, she has some ability to move her extremities, responds to sound and can make facial gestures, her family says.

She also has breathing and feeding tubes. Her mother was appointed her legal guardian in 2009.

The woman gave birth December 29, much to the shock of her caregivers, one of whom told a 911 dispatcher, “We had no idea she was pregnant.”

A doctor who gave her a yearly checkup about 37 weeks before she gave birth wrote that there were no major changes in her health, according to medical records sent to the court. During an April 16 external exam, a doctor noted her “firm belly.”

After obtaining DNA samples from male staff members in January, authorities arrested Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse who was caring for the woman.

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