An attorney for the woman claims that even zoo animals are afforded better care than his client was offered in the Washington County Jail.
A Maryland woman who was left to give birth to a baby on the dirty, concrete floor of a jail has filed a lawsuit alleging that the facility’s medical staff ignored her screams and pleas for assistance.
According to The Associated Press, plaintiff Jazmin Valentine alleges that some nurses working in the Washington County Jail in Hagerstown, MD, accused Valentine of exaggerating her symptoms, claiming that she was not going into labor but instead suffering from narcotics withdrawal.
Valentine says, left unaided and in solitary confinement, she punched the walls of her cell and—at one point—removed what she believed was her newborn’s amniotic sac, sliding it underneath her door to show medical staff that she was, in fact, having a baby.
Another inmate, hearing Valentine’s screams, called the woman’s boyfriend—who, in turn, called the jail, begging officials to help his partner.
The Associated Press reports that an individual jail deputy did raise concerns about Valentine’s treatment.
However, the jail’s contracted medical staff ignored the deputy’s report.
The deputy, adds The Associated Press, later performed a wellness check, finding Valentine holding her baby inside the cell.
An ambulance was called, and Valentine and the newborn were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The lawsuit claims that, because Valentine was forced to give birth in unsanitary conditions, the infant developed a serious staph bacteria infection that has proven resistant to most antibiotics.
Valentine told The Associated Press that, although she had never given birth before and feared that either she or the baby might die, she resolved herself to deliver the newborn without assistance.
“In many brain, anything could happen,” she said. “I felt like I was in the hands of the devil, honestly.”
Valentine’s attorneys allege that Washington County, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, individual deputies, and medical personnel violated Valentine’s rights under state law as well as the United States Constitution.
PrimeCare, the medical staffing company that serves the Washington County Jail, reportedly declined The Associated Press’s request for comment.
David Lane, an attorney representing Valentine, told The New York Post that animals are afforded better medical care than his client was provided.
“An animal at the zoo giving birth would have had a veterinary attendant,” Lane said.
“She actually thought she was going to die,” he said. “She was greatly fearful her child was going to die. They just did not care.”
“What we’re looking for is accountability,” Lane added. “We want to send a message to every jail and prison in America–they will pay a steep, steep price when they treat human beings like animals.”