All inmates have a constitutional right to receive necessary healthcare during their period of incarceration, but not all detention facilities have adhered to their legal obligations. In Texas, a female inmate recently filed a lawsuit claiming that prison officials forced her to give birth while she was locked in a solitary cell almost two years ago, and that those inadequate conditions led to her baby's death.
In her lawsuit, Nicole Guerrero says that prison officials in Wichita County ignored observable symptoms of labor and demands for medical attention, choosing to leave her alone in solitary confinement instead of transporting her to a medical center for a safe delivery. When Guerrero began to experience pain and cramping associated with labor, an on-duty nurse examined her and declared that the pains were not labor-related.
But Ms. Guerrero's childbirth proceeded, as follows:
- Though Guerrero claims she tried repeatedly to obtain medical attention throughout the night and into the morning while in her solitary cell, her requests were ignored.
- Around 5 a.m., an officer passing by her cell stopped to help her as she gave birth.
- According to the court filing, the baby's umbilical cord was wrapped around its throat and it could not breathe.
- No CPR was performed at the scene, and the infant was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Guerrero also claims that she was forced to remain in solitary confinement after giving birth without receiving any medical attention. Her lawsuit accuses the prison's on-duty nurse and healthcare management of medical malpractice and of depriving her of access to necessary medical care.
Prisons are responsible for providing adequate healthcare for all inmates, including those who are pregnant. Failure to provide this care may result in serious complications for the newborn baby and mother, including irreversible medical conditions, debilitating injuries or even death. Contact a Chicago, Illinois attorney at Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices to learn more about taking legal action after suffering a birth injury.