Woman forced to give birth alone in Denver jail cell files lawsuit

Woman forced to give birth alone in Denver jail cell files lawsuit”

Clips of silent surveillance video released by her lawyer show Diana Sanchez eventually lying down on a narrow bed, crying out in pain, before she pulls off her trousers and delivers a baby boy on July 31, 2018. The lawsuit states that July 31, 2018, was "a day of unnecessary terror, pain and humiliation that continues to cause her ongoing emotional trauma".

Three hours after she first alerted staff to her condition, Sanchez's water broke, at which point she again attempted to alert staff. After about 15 minutes, someone slid what her lawyer described as a white folded absorbent pad under the door.

And now, more than a year later, she is suing the city and the county of Denver. Despite repeated calls for help, no guards or medical personnel entered her cell until she gave birth to her son. With her weight shifted to one side of her body, Sanchez gives birth to a baby boy, with the guard still standing in the doorway.

Sanchez, who was booked into the jail two weeks earlier, alleges several Denver Health nurses and jail staffers knew she had been in active labor for hours, was days away from her due date and her water had broken hours before. "The way he picks up the baby is as if he's never seen a baby before", said Sanchez's lawyer, Mari Newman. The lawsuit says that Sanchez spoke with Denver deputies and Denver Health nurses at least eight times that morning, informing them every time that she was experiencing contractions.

After nearly six hours of labour, Sanchez gave birth to a boy. Diana Sanchez was arrested on July 14, 2018, on charges of identity theft and taken to the Denver County Jail.

After the birth, staff went into her cell and 32 minutes later, her lawyer said she was taken to the hospital.

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Diana Sanchez says she tried telling a deputy she was in labor. The deputy sought a nurse, who did not give her medical care because she was already scheduled to go to the hospital, the suit said.

At the time, the incident did prompt an internal investigation, but the probe found that "the Deputy Sheriffs took the appropriate actions under the circumstances and followed the relevant policies and procedures".

The Denver County Sheriff's Department said Thursday that it has since changed its policy to ensure that pregnant inmates who are in any stage of labor are immediately taken to the hospital.

That same statement also stressed that the medical staff provided by Denver Health are responsible for inmate care and well-being.

Denver Health declined to comment on a pending lawsuit but defended its work in the jail.

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