A federal lawsuit filed this week claims that a woman in Texas had to give birth alone in jail while spending a night in solitary confinement. She also claims that the baby died because of this, according to CNN.
In the lawsuit, Nicole Guerrero claims 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.”
The county has not commented on the case, saying instead, “We are prohibited (from talking) about pending litigation in Texas because we are representing the county in this case,” said Wichita County District Attorney Maureen Shelton.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas. Wichita County, registered nurse LaDonna Anderson, the Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Healthcare Management, Inc. are all named as defendants.
Guerrero was arrested on June 2, 2012 for drug possession. While in custody she visited her doctor due to an infection on June 11. At the time, the doctor told Guerrero she was 8 and a half months pregnant. When Guerrero returned to jail she began suffering from severe pain and cramping. The nurse on duty, Anderson, checked her and said Guerrero was not in labor.
The lawsuit then discusses a night spent in solitary confinement. Guerrero said she tried to get medical attention that night and the next morning because of worsening pain. The guards on duty and Anderson ignored her. On June 12, around 5 a.m., a detention officer walked by her cell and helped deliver the baby.
According to the court filing, the baby had the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck and was not breathing. There was no CPR performed and the baby died at a local hospital. Guerrero claims she was kept in solitary, with no medical treatment, even after the baby was removed from the cell. Guerrero’s attorney is Rick Bunch. Bunch said that Guerrero’s 14th Amendment rights of due process were violated by Sheriff David Duke and Wichita County because she was not provided access to reasonable medical care. None of the defendants named in the lawsuit have commented on the pending litigation.