Call on the AMA to recommend policies that protect patients in comas and vegetative states

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An Apache woman in a vegetative state for 14-years just gave birth at the Hacienda HealthCare clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. There’s absolutely no way she could have consented to intercourse. Staff didn’t even know she was pregnant until she was effectively giving birth. Due to disabilities, she's been at this facility for the majority of her life. Her family is devastated and outraged that their daughter was raped at a facility intended to care for her unique needs. The facility is doing genetic testing on male staff to find the father, and requiring male staff be accompanied by a female staff member when dealing with patients. These actions after the fact cannot take away that a woman in a coma was raped and gave birth at this facility. Women in vegetative states shouldn’t be violated. Tell the American Medical Association (AMA) to create policy recommendations that protect patients in vegetative states and comas from sexual assault and rape.

Noticeably absent is America’s largest medical association. The AMA has no policies requiring male staff be accompanied by female staff when dealing with coma patients. Coma patients and those in vegetative states are uniquely vulnerable to sexual assault. Tell the AMA to create recommendations for policies that put coma patients first - protect coma patients from rape.

The AMA should create policies for facilities to follow if they are caring for patients in comas or vegetative states. Those policies could include: requiring male staff be accompanied by female staff, and monitoring who goes in and out of patient rooms through sign in sheets and cameras. These patients can’t speak for themselves. Tell the AMA to protect patients in vegetative states and comas.

This woman is not alone. Other women who have been in comas for half a decade or more have been impregnated at facilities in Massachusetts and New York as well. Coma patients and patients in vegetative states shouldn’t be put into situations that allow them to be violated by caretakers or visitors. Tell the AMA to create a guiding policy that keeps these patients safe.

 



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