Connecticut officials are forking over $250,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by an inmate after she gave birth alone in her cell without medical assistance.
Officials in Connecticut recently agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a state prison inmate “who gave birth on a toilet in her cell and claimed she was denied medical care.” Despite agreeing to fork over $250,000, the officials have not admitted wrongdoing.
According to the lawsuit, Tianna Laboy, an inmate at York Correctional Institution women’s prison in Niantic, “complained about severe abdominal pain and bloody discharge in the hours leading up to the birth in 2018 but was told the medical staff wasn’t available.” On February 13, 2018, she gave birth in her cell’s toilet, “five weeks prematurely, without medical assistance.” Following the traumatic birth, the infant had to spend two weeks in intensive care and is “now in the custody of Laboy’s mother.”
Shortly after the infant’s birth, “two UConn Health employees, who provided medical care at the prison, were escorted out of the prison and told not to return while the matter was under review,” according to the suit. However, on the state’s Department of Public Health website, their licenses are still current. On top of that, there is “no record of disciplinary actions or pending charges against them.”
Two weeks after the incident, the state announced a change to inmate medical care. Instead of UConn Health being responsible for the health of the inmates, the Department of Corrections is taking over “in response to growing concerns over the medical treatment given to inmates statewide.”
Following the incident, the Department of Corrections investigated the matter and discovered a “series of missteps, including the fact that nurses didn’t connect Laboy’s abdominal pain to preterm labor.
Of the $250,000 settlement agreement, $83,000 will go towards attorney fees, while about $112,000 will be placed into a trust for Laboy’s daughter. Another $55,000 will “go into a trust for Laboy, 23, who is serving a seven-year sentence at the state women’s prison for the non-fatal stabbing of a male companion in New Britain in 2017,” according to Kenneth Krayeske, one of the attorneys representing Laboy. It’s important to note, however, that the agreement does not include things like “required medical training for employees that would improve conditions” at the prison, Krayeske said. He added:
“It’s only money…It doesn’t deal with the conditions of her confinement and it doesn’t deal with some of the larger issues. We didn’t get any injunctive relief or promises from the state that this doesn’t happen again.”