DENVER (CBS4)– A mother who gave birth in a Denver County Jail cell is suing the Denver Sheriff Department and Denver Health Medical Center. Diana Sanchez claims her rights were violated.
“This case is incredibly disturbing,” said Mari Newman, the attorney for Sanchez. “She went into labor in the early morning hours. She immediately told a guard and later a nurse that she was in labor, that she was experiencing contractions, that her water had broken, and ultimately that she was passing blood.”
Newman’s law firm provided edited surveillance video that shows Sanchez’s struggle throughout the morning of July 31, 2018. It shows Sanchez in pain and at one point being handed an absorbent pad. At 10:44 a.m., she gave birth and soon a nurse and deputy walked into the medical unit she was being held in.
“We’re talking about well over five hours that she was in hard labor yelling for help and screaming in pain and they simply failed to take her to the hospital. The idea that a human being could be treated in this way is it’s really unfathomable,” Newman said.
Denver Health provides medical care for inmates at Denver jails. The hospital released a statement that read, “Denver Health provides high quality medical care to thousands of inmates every year. Our patients are our number one priority and we make every effort to ensure they receive the proper care. As this is a pending legal matter we are not able to comment at this time.”
The Denver Sheriff Department stated, “We empathize with anyone who is in jail while pregnant including Ms. Sanchez. We contract with Denver Health Medical to provide comprehensive medical care at both of our jails. Denver Health medical professionals are housed in the jail facilities and have dedicated medical units to provide medical services for those in our care. Ms. Sanchez was in the medical unit and under the care of Denver health medical professionals at the time she gave birth. To make sure nothing like this happens again, the Denver Sheriff Department has changed its policies to ensure that pregnant inmates who are in any stage of labor are now transported immediately to the hospital. Unfortunately, because there is a lawsuit pending, we are unable to provide further comment at this time.”
“When a woman gives birth in a jail cell, we know something is profoundly wrong and it needs to change,” Newman said. “Denver and Denver Health are lucky that they didn’t kill anybody this time. That’s hardly a justification for continuing to say that nothing is wrong with the fact that they made Ms. Sanchez to give birth with no medical care whatsoever in a dirty jail cell, next to a toilet. It’s not right.”