Nicole Guerrero is suing a Texas county claiming that police threw her into solitary confinement while she was going into labor, forcing her to deliver her baby on her own and resulting in the infant’s death.
Guerrero has filed suit this week against Wichita County, Sheriff David Duke, Correctional Healthcare Management, Inc. and Ladonna Anderson claiming that they refused to help while she was going into labor.
Anderson is a registered nurse working at the jail where Guerrero was being held on drug charges. After the pregnant prisoner had a doctor’s appointment on June 11, 2012, she was told she was 34 weeks pregnant and prescribed one medication by the doctor.
But later that day Nicole Guerrero started to feel contractions, prompting her to go back to Anderson. The nurse listened to the baby’s heartbeat but sent Guerrero back to her cell, where the labor intensified.
“Recognizing that something was wrong, Plaintiff pushed the medical emergency button, seeking assistance for her worsening condition,” the lawsuit claims. “Plaintiff continued to push the medical emergency button, but her requests for help were ignored until 3:30 a.m.”
At that point officers took Guerrero to the nurse’s station, but she was told the labor-like symptoms were likely the result of the prescription medicine. Guerrero was then taken to a solitary room, where the pain continued to worsen.
“Subsequently, detention officers escorted Plaintiff to the ‘cage’ and she was given a mat to lay on,” the suit claims. “Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff’s pain worsened, and she began to experience intense pressure… in obvious distress, began to moan, scream and cry. She also attempted to talk herself through this ordeal, since she was not receiving any medical assistance.”
Anderson reportedly then told Guerrero that she contacted a doctor, who confirmed that the prisoner was fine. But inside the “cage” Guerrero could start to feel the baby’s head crowning. An officer walking by saw the prisoner trying to deliver the baby and went inside to help.
Guerrero’s daughter was born looking “dark purple, and had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.”
The suit claims that Anderson did little to help, entering the “cage” only after several minutes and not attempting any kind of resuscitation for the newborn.
“Just to let you know, I had to unwrap the cord from the baby’s neck, and as long as we don’t cut the cord, she’s gonna have some bit of oxygen to help her,” the lawsuit quotes Anderson as saying. “Defendant Anderson then proceeded to wrap the baby in Plaintiff’s inmate towel, but did not make any attempt to revive her by CPR or any other method, although the baby was unresponsive and had a dark purple complexion.”
Emergency technicians eventually took both Nicole Guerrero and her daughter to the hospital, but the newborn was declared dead at 6:30 am. The lawsuit claims that Guerrero was denied her 14th Amendment right to reasonable medical care.