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Clinic boss quits after vegetative patient gives birth

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The boss of a private clinic in the US has resigned after a woman in a vegetative state reportedly gave birth.

Staff at the facility in Phoenix, Arizona were apparently unaware that the patient – who has been in a vegetative state for more than a decade – was pregnant before she had a baby boy.

The clinic's chief executive Bill Timmons has now resigned, with his departure unanimously approved by Hacienda HealthCare's board of directors, a company spokesman said.

A police investigation is under way, while inspectors from Arizona's department of health services have checked on patients and implemented "heightened safety measures".

There is also "increased monitoring of the patient care areas, and increased security measures with respect to visitors at the facility". the health department said.

The 29-year-old woman had a healthy baby on 29 December, according to local TV station KPHO.

She had reportedly been in a vegetative state for 14 years, since an incident in which she almost drowned.

Gary Orman, executive vice president of Hacienda HealthCare, said the company would "accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation".

He added that it was an "unprecedented case that has devastated everyone involved, from the victim and her family to Hacienda staff at every level of our organisation".

More from Arizona

Company spokesman David Leibowitz previously said the group was "fully committed to getting to the truth of what, for us, represents an unprecedented matter".

The office of Arizona's governor has described the situation as "deeply troubling".

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