Sanchez has filed a federal lawsuit after the jail staff were cleared of any wrongdoing
A Colorado woman who was in Denver County Jail was forced to give birth alone, delivering her baby after being in labor for six hours. She asked for help from multiple staff who ignored her pleas and finally delivered a son without medical supervision. The entire ordeal was captured on video — and now the woman is filing a federal lawsuit against the city and county of Denver, Denver Health Medical Center, and six individuals as defendants
According to the Washington Post, 26-year-old Diana Sanchez was eight months pregnant when she was booked at the Denver County Jail on identity theft charges in the summer of 2018. She began feeling contractions at 5 a.m. on July 31, telling jail staff she was in labor. Shortly before 10 a.m., she let them know her water broke and that she was having stronger contractions. She was given an absorbent pad.
According to KDVR, at 10:45 a.m. a nurse working at the jail called an ambulance which never arrived, and medical care wasn’t provided. Instead, Sanchez labored alone in her cell for the next five hours, all of which was captured on surveillance video that, according to the lawsuit, the jail’s staff were supposed to be monitoring. “The pain is indescribable and what hurts me more though is that fact that nobody cared,” Sanchez said.
Her son, Jordan Sanchez-Meraz, was finally taken to the hospital to be checked out. “They put my son’s life at risk. Like at least him, he deserves a chance, you know,” she said. “When I got at the hospital (doctors) said I could have bled to death.”
Sanchez said she told staff at least eight times that she was in labor and needed help early that morning. “I was screaming, ‘Can you please get the nurse? I`m in a lot of pain’,” Sanchez remembers saying. “Then I told her, ‘Look, my water broke, my water broke.'”
Her lawsuit follows an internal investigation performed by the Denver Sheriff Department in 2018, which cleared the deputies of any and all wrongdoing, saying they “took the appropriate actions under the circumstances and followed the relevant policies and procedures.” They also added that the “policy has since been clarified that when an inmate is in labor, an emergency ambulance will be called.”
According to the lawsuit, one deputy wrote that Sanchez screamed, “The baby is coming,” and then could be seen “holding her baby with one hand, and it appeared the baby’s feet and ankles were just then becoming visible.” She was scared to death and alone in unsanitary conditions and not one person stepped forward to help her. The report also indicates nurses didn’t know where to find a clamp for the umbilical cord and had to call the Denver Fire Department to assist before she and her son were taken to the hospital.
“The failure to provide care to a woman who is in labor and a baby who is born without any medical assistance in a dirty jail cell,” Sanchez’s attorney, Mari Newman said. “This is not civilized.”