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A Colorado woman gave birth alone in a jail cell while deputies and nurses did nothing to help, lawsuit alleges


'That pain was indescribable'

Image source: Washington Post video screenshot

A Colorado woman is suing after being forced to give birth alone in a jail cell, while deputies and medical staff at the jail allegedly ignored her when she told them she was about to give birth, according to The Washington Post.

Diana Sanchez gave birth to her son in her jail cell bed at Denver County Jail, alone, on the morning of July 31, 2018. The birth was captured on the jail's surveillance cameras, which also recorded her writhing and crying out in pain as she labored for hours leading up to the birth.

Sanchez, who had arrived at the jail on July 14 eight months pregnant, said she told the deputy who delivered her breakfast at 5 a.m. that she was having contractions, and told other deputies and nurses the same thing "at least eight times," but she still didn't receive any medical care or transportation to the hospital.

"That pain was indescribable, and what hurt me more though is the fact that nobody cared," Sanchez said in an interview with KDVR last year.

The extent of the assistance Sanchez was given was an absorbent pad to lie on. After her water broke, a deputy came in and then informed a nurse of the situation. But they didn't call an ambulance, they just scheduled a van to take her to the hospital — after all new detainees had been booked, which was an hourslong process.

Eventually, Sanchez gave birth to her son, who tumbled out onto the bed. A man wearing surgical gloves then entered the cell, and examined the baby. Sanchez and the baby weren't transported to the hospital until more than a half hour after the birth, according to the lawsuit.

Sanchez said the doctors at the hospital told her she could've bled to death.

The Denver Sheriff Department conducted an internal investigation, and cleared all deputies of wrongdoing, determining that the deputies "took the appropriate actions under the circumstances and followed the relevant policies and procedures."

"That's just emblematic of how broken the system really is," said Sanchez's attorney, Mari Newman. "They claim to have done a review and their conclusion is that nothing was wrong with the fact that a woman was never taken to the hospital and ended up giving birth in a dirty, cold, hard jail cell. It's really unfathomable."

Sanchez is suing the city and county of Denver, Denver Health Medical Center, and six individuals.

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