Denver lawsuit alleges woman had to give birth alone in jail cell

CAPTION ADDITIONS This July 31, 2018 photo from surveillance video released to Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP law firm by the Denver County Jail shows Diana Sanchez, an inmate about to give birth alone in her Denver jail cell. Sanchez is suing the city after she says her pleas for help were ignored during about five hours of labor. Clips of silent surveillance video released by her lawyer show Diana Sanchez eventually lying down on a narrow bed, crying out in pain, before she pulls off her pants and delivers a baby boy. (Killmer, Lane & Newman/Denver County Jail via AP)

A woman in Denver, Colorado, has filed a lawsuit against the city and sheriff staff, alleging she had to give birth alone in a jail cell with no medical assistance.

Diana Sanchez claims in a complaint that she was forced to deliver her baby last year “on a cold hard bench, feet away from a toilet” in the county jail.

The Denver sheriff’s department told the BBC it conducted a review and found staff had acted appropriately.

An earlier statement from the department noted that Sheriff Patrick Firman had immediately ordered a “thorough DSD investigation” after the incident, and “it was determined that the Deputy Sheriffs took the appropriate actions under the circumstances and followed the relevant policies and procedures”.

However, the lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, names the city and county of Denver, the Denver Health Medical Center and six other individuals as defendants, alleging they “utterly failed to satisfy their legal and moral duty”.

Ms Sanchez told KDVR last year: “They put my son’s life at risk. When I got to the hospital, they said that I could have bled to death.”

The lawsuit says the staff’s “outrageous conduct” violated Ms Sanchez and her baby’s constitutional rights.
Ms Sanchez was booked into the Denver County Jail on 14 July 2018, aged 26, on identity theft charges.

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