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Inmate claims she gave birth alone in solitary, baby dies

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Wichita County, TX — A Texas woman claims she was forced to give birth alone in jail during a horrific night in solitary confinement nearly two years ago, and that her baby died because of it, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week.

Nicole Guerrero alleges in legal documents that “Wichita County denied (her) access to reasonable medical care … ignored her obvious signs of labor and constant requests for medical assistance, failed to conduct a physical examination … when she began to display obvious signs of labor, left (her) unattended in a solitary cell while she was obviously in labor, failed to transport (her) to the hospital for safe delivery, which ultimately caused (her) to deliver her baby alone in the solitary cell, and resulted in (her) suffering severe and likely permanent, physical and psychological injuries.”

Wichita County isn’t talking about the case.

“We are prohibited (from talking) about pending litigation in Texas because we are representing the county in this case,” said Wichita County District Attorney Maureen Shelton.

The lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas, names as defendants Wichita County, the Sheriff’s Office, registered nurse LaDonna Anderson, and Correctional Healthcare Management, Inc., Anderson’s employer.

Here’s what Guerrero says happened, according to court documents:

She was arrested on drug possession charges on June 2, 2012. After visiting her doctor for an infection on June 11, while still in custody, Guerrero says her doctor told her she was 8½ months pregnant. According to the legal complaint, once Guerrero was returned to jail she experienced severe pain and cramping. She said she was checked out by the nurse on duty, identified in court documents as Anderson, late on the night of June 11. Anderson determined at that time Guerrero was not in labor, according to the legal documents.

The complaint then detailed a night spent in solitary confinement, during which Guerrero claims she tried to get medical attention throughout the night and into the early morning hours as her pain worsened, but that she was ignored by Anderson and the guards on duty. Finally, Guerrero said, around 5 a.m. on June 12, a detention officer walking by her cell helped her deliver the baby. The court filing said the baby was not breathing when it was born and that the umbilical cord was wrapped around its neck.

Guerrero says in court papers that no CPR was performed on the baby and that it was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Guerrero alleged she was still kept in solitary confinement, without medical help, after the baby was taken away.

Guerrero’s lawsuit accuses Anderson and Correctional Healthcare Management of medical malpractice.

Her attorney Rick Bunch said Wichita County and Sheriff David Duke violated her due process rights under the 14th Amendment by depriving her of access to reasonable medical care, according to affiliate KFDX.

CNN contacted the Wichita County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson and Correctional Healthcare Management several times requesting comment, but did not receive a response.

CNN’s Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

17 comments

  • Penny

    She didn’t know she was pregnant until 8 1/2 months, probably because she was to drugged up to realize it. The baby most likely died because of that. I call BS on her story, stupid, selfish druggies ruin everyone’s lives and they could care less, unless of course there’s something for them to get out of it.

    • Justin Opinion

      First, it says that she was seeing her doctor who said she was at 8 1/2 months, not that she just found out she was pregnant, this is just a summary, they took her to see her doctor for a reason. Second, she has only been arrested, not convicted, if the nurse, sheriff, and contracted medical provider cannot handler their legal duty, then they should be unemployed and pay for the damages out of their pocket instead of tax payers having to pay for their incompetence. Third, it says the baby was declared dead at the local hospital, so obviously there is a record outside of her story, by impartial third party. I wouldn’t think a local attorney would take on everyone if he didn’t have a chance at making a buck. Finally, I didn’t know that an umbilical cord wrapping around the baby’s neck, choking it was due to drug usage.

      • Cheryl

        I agree with Justin. As an OB nurse myself, I find it hard to understand why a nurse that works in a prison would think she is qualified to rule out a potential active labor. And it’s unlikely that the drug use would have caused the death in this case. Infants don’t start detoxing until approximately 24 hours. And in this case it sounds like the neonate was in need of resuscitation. Which he did not receive. Babies start breathing when they are born in most cases. In the other 10 percent of the cases they require resuscitation. And if not properly resuscitated they could die. Maybe get your facts straight before you make assumptions.

      • Connie

        I think Nicole should have received the medical attention needed for prenatal care, deliverance, or complications of the baby, though her complaint about her physical and mental suffering I don’t buy. If she had decided to do drugs while pregnant, it was her choice to hurt herself and baby. I agree with you Justin with the statement “if the nurse, sheriff, and contracted medical provider cannot handler their legal duty, then they should be unemployed and pay for the damages out of their pocket instead of tax payers having to pay for their incompetence.” But I also feel that the arresting officer may have seen or evidence of her drug use…just because she has not been convicted yet does not mean there was no reason to arrest her. He/She (arresting officer) saw a probable cause and took action.

  • linda

    o she just wants free money and we are the ones as tax payers will have to pay for it nice her baby would of ended up in foster care any way it was probably better off why was she in jail anyway she new she was pregnant so get over it I am tired of takin care of you losers anyway get jobs and support your selves please!!!!

  • Alicia

    Umm maybe the drugs that she was on was the cause of death! Oh but that can’t be it…. Right?

    • Justin Opinion

      The umbilical cord was wrapped around its neck, tell me, how does doing drugs make that happen? It actually is not that uncommon, happening at least a quarter of the time, of course most people are allowed proper medical care so it is not an issue…

  • Nikki helms

    You people make me sick. Just because she was on drugs does not mean the baby is better off dead. People like you are the reason police get away with so much. Your disgusting and soulless. Every child deserves life no matter how horrible the parents may be.

    • STYX65

      I agree.
      Doesn’t matter if she was on drugs or not NO ONE DESERVES TO BE TREATED LIKE THAT

  • bob

    who’s to say that the baby wasn’t already dead, it’s her word against theirs. beings she claims to be alone.

    • Justin Opinion

      But isn’t that the point Bob. The baby ultimately, according to the article, ended up at the hospital where it was pronounced dead so there is that report, without the mother. So establishing if she was alone or provided medical care should be rather easy and if she was alone and not provided care then I would think the county has a problem. The hospital I would assume can also determine if the cause of death was from the umbilical cord choking or some other …

  • Sandy

    Where in the story does it say she was taking drugs? It says she was arrested for possession of drugs, which could mean she wa selling them or holding them for someone, either way she has rights and they were denied. A baby is dead and you people on your high horses make me sick!

  • Tami

    You’re an idiot who has no clue as to what the facts may be.Boy did you make yourself sound stupid!!

  • Tami

    I was in jail on a driving charge and the medical was a disgrace.First they burnt my face to a crisp and because I demanded medical treatment they started a vindeta against me.I have serious medical issues and even had my family bring brand new meds in and they refused them,while letting others have theirs.I had to beg for nine days for meds for my face and eyes till I found a nurse to help me and they fired her…So do I believe her…yes I do!

  • Tina Marie

    It happens all the time because medical staff and custody officers have the attitudes that they’re “just inmates.” I can see this happening and she was probably denied proper medical care.

  • middleman

    No matter what the mother did to end up in solitary, giving her no medical attention was evil, especially since it was not just her suffering, but an innocent baby was left to die. Evil.

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