Disabled Woman Gives Birth

Baby, handicap symbol
A severely disabled, brain-damaged woman who was discovered to be pregnant while living in a nursing home has given birth to an apparently healthy baby girl, authorities said.

A lawsuit filed last week claims the woman was raped in the home in suburban Bloomingdale. The woman has cerebral palsy and is so severely disabled she must use a wheelchair and be fed through a tube.

The woman was scheduled to have a Caesarean section in mid-August, but she had the procedure Wednesday evening at Rush University Medical Center here because she was suffering from a dangerous complication of pregnancy called preeclampsia that affects both mother and child.

The baby, a girl, appears healthy, but is in intensive care, a family member said.

Bloomingdale Police and the Illinois Department of Public Health are investigating the pregnancy and the circumstances at Alden Village Health Facility for Children and Young Adults. The company that operates the facility, Alden Management Services, is cooperating with the investigation, representatives said.

The suit claims the facility, the management company and the woman's doctor were negligent.

The woman and her twin sister had lived at Alden Village since they were 10, but were removed when the pregnancy was discovered last month.

In 1996, a baby boy was born to a woman in a chronic vegetative state in Rochester, N.Y. The family took custody of the boy, and a onetime nursing home employee was convicted of rape. The woman, who had been injured in a car accident in 1985, died a year after the child was born, never having regained consciousness.