Woman Sues Sheriff for Treatment During Birth

Each Chicago birth injury lawyer at our firm works with families who have not received proper medical care when delivering their child, leading to injury to either the new baby or the mother. These cases are essentially a form a medical malpractice, where hospitals, doctors, and nurses have failed to act reasonably leading to the harm. However, in rare cases there are some birth injury lawsuits that are of a different mold. These situations essentially involve anything where a mother was not treated properly when giving birth to their child.

For example, the Colorado Independent reported this weekend on a unique birth injury lawsuit out of Arizona that has garnered national media attention. The case involves the alleged mistreatment of a pregnant inmate by a high-profile county sheriff. The sheriff has made national news for his efforts to curb illegal immigration in Arizona. Many hard line tactics have been used by his office in an alleged effort to crack down on undocumented individuals in his community. However, the efforts have come under intense scrutiny by many both in Arizona and around the country.

Now a woman is claiming that she was mistreated during her pregnancy while at the state’s immigration detention center. The plaintiff is an undocumented woman who was at the detention center for a short time during her pregnancy in 2009. The lawsuit names the sheriff, his office, the involved medical center, and various doctors and nurses who provided her care.

The trouble began when the woman was arrested for identify theft and held without bond. According to the police report in her arrest, the woman apparently used someone else’s name, social security number, and date of birth to obtain employment at a department store. She was actually at work vacuuming the floor when authorities arrested her.

At the time of her arrest the woman was six months pregnant. Her condition was somewhat complicated because she had developed gestational diabetes and had high blood pressure. She spent the next two months in the detention center. Just before Christmas, a few days before her sentencing hearing, the woman began to have contractions. She thought was going into labor. The detention center personnel responded by shackling her at the ankles and taking her to a local medical center. The medical team told her that she was not in labor, and so she was returned to the jail.

The woman began having intense pains as soon as she was brought back to the facility. The pain increased the following day, and she pleaded with guards for help. The woman only spoke Spanish, and the guards ignored her pleas. She eventually asked an English speaking person in the room to tell the guards that she needed help. Ultimately, she was shackled again and then taken to the same medical center where she gave birth. One correctional officer insisted that the woman be shackled to the hospital bed while giving birth-leading to increased pain during the labor.

The subsequent lawsuit that was filed alleges that the woman was mistreated during the process. It also claims that she was not properly cared for after the birth. The woman was allegedly discharged from the facility in a fragile state.

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