A jailed woman was forced to give birth in a dirty prison cell on July 31, 2018. Her baby was born inside the Denver County, Colorado jail without any sort of proper care, and now she’s suing.
26-year-old Diana Sanchez claims that when she went into labor, the prison’s staff refused to transport her to a hospital. The reason? According to Sanchez’s attorney, it was “inconvenient.”
Instead of receiving medical attention, she was left to agonizingly deliver her own child with no assistance. For hours, she said, she screamed in pain. There were no doctors, she received no anesthesia, and she had no one to help aid in the delivery.
The Denver County Sheriff’s Department said Sanchez had been brought in on charges of identity theft. That was two weeks prior to the birth of her son.
Now-released surveillance footage shows baby Jordan being born at 10:44 AM. Six hours prior, she’d alerted a guard that her water had broken, and she was going into labor. The guard, however, reportedly refused to help her.
A male nurse watched Sanchez give birth – not by her side, but from outside her cell. Just after the child was born, the man walked in and took the child.
Sanchez’s attorney Mari Newman told KDVR that the man showed her client no compassion, calling his actions “astounding.” She also described his handling of the baby “as though he’s never seen one in his life.”
Until the child was born, Sanchez said the staff declined to call her an ambulance.
“I felt helpless,” the new mother said. “There were so many people there and nobody lifted a finger basically.”
She also said the pain was “indescribable,” but what hurt her more was “the fact that nobody cared.”
On Wednesday, Sanchez and her lawyers filed a lawsuit which claims the jail’s staff was aware of the situation. They knew that she was going into labor, yet they made the conscious and deliberate decision not to take her to a hospital.
According to Newman, the lawsuit is intended to “hold to account the officials who cruelly chose convenience over compassion.”
The suit lists the city, the county, and the Denver Health Medical Center. Additionally, several members of the jail’s staff are also named.
According to a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, Sheriff Patrick Firman called for an immediate Internal Affairs review following the incident.
Investigators, she said, determined that the sheriff’s deputies “took the appropriate actions under the circumstances.” They were also claimed to have “followed the relevant policies and procedures.”
However, the department subsequently clarified its policies to prison staff. They’ve now been instructed to call an ambulance if an inmate goes into labor.