PHOENIX (AP/Gray News) — Authorities have released the 911 call frantic health workers made as a woman in a vegetative state gave birth in Arizona.
The woman, identified as a 29-year-old Native American, gave birth on Dec. 29.
Stunned attendants at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix, who did not realize the woman was ever pregnant, called 911 in a panic as they delivered the baby.
In the opening of the audio, a woman at the facility can be heard urgently shouting, “Oh the baby’s turning blue! Baby’s turning blue! Baby’s turning blue! Baby’s turning blue!”
The call appears to cut out, and she reconnects with another dispatcher.
“Someone just had a baby, one of our patients just had a baby and we had no idea she was pregnant,” she tells the 911 dispatcher. “The baby is turning blue, we need someone now.”
The dispatcher asks her if the mom is OK.
“We’re not sure, we had no idea this patient was pregnant,” the caller says.
At one point she checks on the status of the baby.
“Is the baby breathing, is the baby breathing? Baby’s not breathing, baby is blue,” she says.
She tells the dispatcher they’re doing CPR.
Sounding stunned, she tells the dispatcher three more times that they didn’t know the patient was pregnant and that “this is a complete surprise, we were not expecting this.”
“No, baby is not responsive,” she answers the dispatcher after a few minutes pass. “They’re still trying to do compressions and they’re suctioning the baby.”
At one point, she can be heard directing other healthcare workers.
“Did we get vitals on mom? Yeah, let’s get the vital machine, I want vitals on mom,” she said.
She tells another astonished worker what’s happened.
“She had a baby,” she says. “Who had a baby?” the other worker responds. “There’s a baby right there,” she says.
After informing the dispatcher that the mom “looks stable,” she hears that the baby is breathing.
“Oh the baby is breathing, oh my God, thank God,” she says.
The call lasted more than five minutes in total.
While workers at the facility were dumbfounded by the birth, medical experts said Thursday that it’s possible she displayed no outward signs that workers who cared for her every day would have noticed either.
A doctor examined the woman on April 16 and found “no change” in her health, writing that the exam was external only, according to Maricopa County Superior Court documents. Her mother submitted the results of the physical as part of an annual report that state law requires of legal guardians.
Officers launched a sex crime investigation when it was determined the mother was in a vegetative state, police spokesman Tommy Thompson said.
“She was not in a position to give consent to any of this,” Thompson said.
Police are looking for her rapist.
The revelation that an incapacitated woman was sexually assaulted inside a care facility has horrified advocates for people with disabilities and the community at large. The provider’s CEO resigned this week, and the state said the center has made safety changes.
The baby and the woman are recovering at an area hospital, and their conditions were not released.
It's possible the woman won't have any additional long-term complications from giving birth. Women in a vegetative state after accidents or strokes have successfully delivered babies, Huls said.
Her family, who are members of the San Carlos Apache tribe in southeastern Arizona, said in a statement through their attorney that they will care for the baby boy.
Phoenix police, meanwhile, have not ruled out any suspects in the sexual assault. They are gathering DNA samples from the facility's male staffers and have appealed to the public for any information.
It remains unclear to investigators if the woman was raped more than once.
"I know at least once she was sexually assaulted, which is way too many times," Thompson said.
The Hacienda intermediate care facility specializes in providing around-the-clock care for infants, children and young adults with developmental disabilities or who are "medically fragile."
Since the birth came to light, Hacienda HealthCare has implemented increased safety measures, including more than one staff member being present during patient interactions and more scrutiny of visitors.
The company has said it welcomes DNA testing of its male staffers and is cooperating in the investigation.