Hacienda physician who cared for patient in vegetative state can still practice, medical board rules

The Arizona Medical Board on Oct. 7 dismissed a criminal complaint case against Thanh Nguyen, MD, the physician who treated the long-term care patient who was raped and gave birth at Phoenix-based Hacienda Healthcare in December, reports The Arizona Republic.

The complaint cited numerous concerns regarding delays in the patient's care and Dr. Nguyen's documentation practices, which included copying and pasting EHR notes. State records show a nurse notified physicians of a "hardened mass" on the patient's lower abdomen. Dr. Nguyen didn't order an ultrasound of her abdomen until Dec. 28. The woman, who was in a vegetative state, gave birth the next day before staff members completed the order.

Dr. Nguyen said there were no obvious signs the patient was pregnant, as she weighed 125 pounds and had a flat stomach, according to AZFamily.com.

"Pregnancy was inconceivable and not suspected by anybody that took care of her, including up to the day before delivery," he told the board. "She was in a vegetative state on a ventilator with no way to communicate."

Dr. Nguyen also said he's completed 22 hours of education in medical documentation since the complaint was issued. The board ultimately decided to drop the complaint in a 5-4 vote.

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