US woman files lawsuit after forced to give birth alone in jail cell

Warning: The video above contains graphic images. 

A US woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Denver, Colorado after claiming nurses and deputies allegedly made her give birth alone in her cell at Denver County Jail in July last year.

Diana Sanchez told deputies of the jail she was in labour at 5am, but nurses were not informed until five hours later when her water broke, news station KDVR reports.

Clips of the silent surveillance video released by her lawyer, Mari Newman, shows Sanchez pacing her cell while trying to get attention from the deputies. 

Sanchez eventually lies down on the jail bed while crying out in pain, before pulling off her pants to give birth to her baby boy. It is not until after the birth that a nurse walks in and picks up the child. 

According to KDVR, the baby was born at 10:44am, almost six hours after Sanchez begged the deputies for help. 

"[He] picks up the baby as though he's never seen one in his life. I mean the lack of any sort of compassion is astounding," Newman told KDVR. 

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, local time, and states the jail's staff knew Sanchez was giving birth but made a conscious decision not to take her to the hospital because it was "inconvenient". The lawsuit states jail officials "cruelly chose convenience over compassion". 

According to the lawsuit, no nurse dried or warmed the baby, whose name is reportedly Jordan. No one cleared the mucus from Jordan's mouth for several minutes, and nurses did not have the equipment to cut Jordan's umbilical cord. 

"The failure to provide care to a woman who is in labour and a baby who is born without any medical assistance in a dirty jail cell is not civilised," Newman told KDVR.

An internal investigation was launched after the Denver Sheriff's Office learnt of the birth.

A spokeswoman from the Sheriff's Office determined the deputies took "appropriate actions". 

"The deputies took the appropriate actions under the circumstances and followed the relevant policies and procedures," the spokeswoman told KDVR. 

Since the investigation, the policy has been changed so that when an inmate is in labour, an emergency ambulance will be called. 

Sanchez told KDVR last year the Denver County Jail treats inmates like "garbage".

"Nobody was helping me. There were so many people there and nobody lifted a finger basically," she said. 

Denver Health will not confirm to KDVR if any legal action will be bought against the Denver County jail nurses. 


Contact Newshub with your story tips: