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Expert: Comatose woman may not have shown signs of pregnancy

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PHOENIX — A doctor examined an Arizona woman in a vegetative state nearly nine months before she gave birth but did not find that she was pregnant, and 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.

Police are looking for her rapist and say it appears none of the staff members at a Phoenix long-term care facility knew about the pregnancy until the baby was born Dec. 29, a notion that has drawn skepticism. But the 29-year-old woman, who is described in a medical report as having tubes to feed her and help her breathe, may not have had a swollen belly, according to a doctor of fetal medicine.

While factors remain unknown, such as how far along she was, someone who is fed the same amount from a tube every day might not show any dramatic changes that would be noticed, especially by staffers who don’t work with pregnant patients, said Dr. C. Kevin Huls, a clinical assistant professor and maternal-fetal medicine fellowship director at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.

The mother could actually lose weight in other places like her face or arms if a fetus is consuming nutrients, Huls added.

“A good way to understand it is that really, the baby’s going to continue to grow even at the expense of the mom’s nutrition,” Huls said. “So, her weight may not change because she’s not taking in additional calories. There may be changes to her body that are going to go undetected in a chronic care condition or at a facility like this.”

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 centre has made safety changes.

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.

Phoenix police learned of the situation when they received a call on Dec. 29 about a newborn in distress at the Hacienda HealthCare facility. 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.

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 co-operating in the investigation.

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Follow Terry Tang on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ttangAP .

Terry Tang, The Associated Press

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One year later most oil-and-gas bailout money has moved, federal government says

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OTTAWA — Canada’s $1.6-billion bailout package for Alberta’s battered oil industry is well underway but with little transparency about who is getting the money and for what.

Almost $1 billion of the package of loans, guarantees and government grants announced last December is in the hands of companies but details are available for just a small fraction of the spending.

Two Alberta petrochemical projects each received $49 million for new facilities to turn propane into a type of plastic, while about $37 million flowed to various oil and gas companies to develop or buy technology to reduce their environmental impact.

The funds are flowing as pressure is mounting on Canadian banks and investment firms to reconsider their backing of fossil-fuel projects as major national banks in Europe have begun to flee the sector, citing climate change risks and a transitioning global economy.

Export Development Canada, which set aside $1 billion in the national bailout for loans and loan guarantees, said earlier this year it was getting out of the coal business but would continue to aid oil and gas companies.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Alberta government insist investors need to see how much more sustainable Canada’s industry is compared to some competitors and continue to invest in it as oil and gas remain big elements in the global energy supply.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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Red tape, lack of experience slowing $60B warship project: Former DND official

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OTTAWA — A former Defence Department official is pulling back the curtains on what he says are some serious problems with Canada’s $60-billion effort to buy new warships for the navy.

They include onerous red tape and inexperience among key government officials.

The revelations are in a report by retired rear-admiral Ian Mack for the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, in which Mack says Canada has a lot to learn from Australia when it comes to naval shipbuilding.

Mack spent a decade helping manage Ottawa’s efforts to build a new fleet of warships before he retired in 2017, at which point Australia asked him to help advise it on the purchase of a new fleet of frigates.

The Australian project went from initial government approval to the selection of a design in three years, compared to six years here in Canada.

Mack says unlike in Australia, many people working on the Canadian warship project had little to no applicable experience while other officials floating in and out would often have outsized influence despite not being dedicated to the project.

This article by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov. 15, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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november, 2019

sat16nov4:30 pm7:30 pmVisit The Grinch4:30 pm - 7:30 pm Tribe, 4930B Ross Street

tue19nov1:00 pm3:00 pmDiabetes Discussion Drop In1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

thu21novAll Daysun24Festival of Trees(All Day)

thu21nov6:00 pm11:00 pmFestival of Trees - Preview Dinner6:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

fri22nov8:00 pm11:00 pmFestival of Wines8:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

sat23nov9:00 am12:00 pmFestival Family Bingo - 1st time ever!9:00 am - 12:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

sat23nov6:00 pm11:00 pmMistletoe Magic !6:00 pm - 11:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

sat23nov8:00 pmRed Deer Nov 23 - Calgary's THIRD CHAMBER - EP release show "Harvesting Our Decay"8:00 pm

sun24nov9:00 am12:00 pmBreakfast with Santa9:00 am - 12:00 pm MST Westerner Park, 4847A-19 Street

mon25nov1:30 am2:30 pmPlanning A Calmer Christmas1:30 am - 2:30 pm

mon25nov6:30 pm8:30 pmRustic Succulent Box WorkshopUnique Workshop to create Succulent Box6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

tue26nov1:00 pm3:00 pmDiabetes Discussion Drop InDiabetes Discussion Drop In1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

thu28nov7:30 pm11:00 pmA special Christmas Musical Event at The KrossingBig Hank's Tribute to the Blues Songs of Christmas7:30 pm - 11:00 pm MST The Krossing, 5114 48 Avenue

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