A Texas woman was forced to give birth alone in her solitary jail cell, resulting in the death of her newborn baby. According to a federal lawsuit filed this week, Nicole Guerrero says that “Wichita County denied (her) access to reasonable medical care … ignored her obvious signs of labor and constant requests for medical assistance, failed to conduct a physical examination … when she began to display obvious signs of labor, left (her) unattended in a solitary cell while she was obviously in labor, failed to transport (her) to the hospital for safe delivery, which ultimately caused (her) to deliver her baby alone in the solitary cell, and resulted in (her) suffering severe and likely permanent, physical and psychological injuries.”
Wichita County is refusing official comment about the case, saying: “We are prohibited (from talking) about pending litigation in Texas because we are representing the county in this case,” according to Wichita County District Attorney Maureen Shelton.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas. It officially names as defendants Wichita County, the Sheriff’s Office, registered nurse LaDonna Anderson, and Correctional Healthcare Management, Inc., Anderson’s employer.
Guerrero says she was arrested on drug possession charges on June 2, 2012. On June 11, while still in custody, she was told by a doctor treating her for an infection that she was eight and a half months pregnant. Once returned to jail, she began experiencing severe pain and cramping. The nurse on duty checked her out, and said she was not in labor. She was then left in solitary confinement.
She asked repeatedly to see a doctor and that the pain was getting worse, but the guards ignored her cries for help.
Around 5 a.m. on June 12, a detention officer walking by her cell saw that she was really giving birth and helped her deliver the baby. By this time, the umbilical cord was wrapped around its neck, and the officer did not know how to handle the emergency situation, resulting in the death of the new born.
Guerrero explains that CPR was performed on the baby, which was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Even then, Guerrero says she was still kept in solitary confinement, and never received any follow-up medical help. Her lawsuit accuses Anderson and Correctional Healthcare Management of medical malpractice, and claims that there was a violation of her due process rights under the 14th Amendment by depriving her of access to reasonable medical care
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