Woman sues after giving birth alone in Denver jail cell without medical treatment

A woman who was forced to give birth alone on a bench in a Denver jail without medical treatment or supervision is suing the city, county, a medical facility and six people.

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In a lawsuit, Diana Sanchez said nurses and jail staff knew she was in active labor for hours and did nothing before she ultimately gave birth to a boy at 5 a.m. July 31, 2018, KDVR reported.

"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, this is not civilized," Sanchez's attorney, Mari Newman, told KDVR.

A male nurse is seen walking into the cell after watching from outside it, video from inside the jail shows. A four-month review of the incident by the Denver Sheriff's Department found deputies did nothing wrong.

"(Deputies) took the appropriate actions under the circumstances and followed the relevant policies and procedures," a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman told KDVR. "The care and well-being of our inmates is a top priority for the Denver Sheriff's Department, which is why we contract with Denver Health to provide comprehensive medical care at both of our jails."

The department’s policies have since been changed. Now, an emergency ambulance will be called if an inmate goes into labor.

"Any layperson can see that a woman who has been in labor for hours and hours and who is yelling, calling that she's in labor and needs to call the hospital needs to go to the hospital, pick up the phone and call 911," Newman told KDVR.

Denver Health Medical Center did not comment to KDVR because it is a pending legal matter. Its nurses are staffed at jails to provide medical care to inmates.

"The internal review is complete but due to the legality of the incident, we unfortunately are not able to share the information publicly," officials with the medical center told KDVR in a statement.

Sanchez had been in custody for about two weeks before giving birth.

"I know I was (in jail) because I was at fault for something I did wrong, but I didn't deserve that, especially not my baby," Sanchez told KDVR.

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