CCTV footage shows the moment a woman was forced to give birth in a prison cell by herself “while prison guards ignored her”.
Diana Sanchez, 26, is seen writhing in agony and screaming as she lay on her back “on a cold hard bench, feet away from a toilet” as she pushed.
She had been locked up in a Denver County jail two weeks before on identity-theft related charges. She then went into labour on July 31, 2018, and gave birth unaided.
Six hours before she gave birth to her son Jordan, Sanchez claimed she told guards that she was going into labour. She alleged in a legal complaint that she told prison deputies and nurses “at least eight times” that she was experiencing contractions.
But the prison officials ignored her and she was left screaming in agony for hours without any anesthesia.
It was only after she gave birth that a male nurse, who was allegedly standing outside the cell watching in, is seen walking in to pick up the newborn son.
Mari Newman, Sanchez’s lawyer, told KDVR: “(He) picks up the baby as though he’s never seen one in his life. I mean, the lack of any sort of compassion is astounding.”
Sanchez claimed that is was only after she gave birth that an ambulance was called for her.
Speaking days after the birth Sanchez said: “That pain, it’s just, it’s indescribable. What hurts me more is the fact that nobody cared.”
On Wednesday lawyers filed a lawsuit claiming prison staff were aware Sanchez was giving birth and decided not to take her to hospital because it was “inconvenient”.
A Denver Sheriff’s Department spokesperson told BBC that Denver Health Medical provides “comprehensive medical care at both of our jails” and that professionals are “housed in the jail facilities and have dedicated medical units” to provide care.
The statement said: “We empathise with anyone who is in jail while pregnant, including Ms Sanchez.
“Ms Sanchez was in the medical unit and under the care of Denver health medical professionals at the time she gave birth.”
They said the department had changed its policies to ensure pregnant inmates are immediately transported to hospital.