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Prison Nurse With Expired License Failed to Deliver Inmate’s Baby, Baby Dies

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Nicole Guerrero believes she loss her baby after being forced to deliver it in shackles. www.natruallymoi.com

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Reported by April Taylor

Nicole Guerrero is one of more than 200,000 women who are currently incarcerated for minor property crimes and drug offenses.  Many of these women become incarcerated while pregnant and are forced to give birth while handcuffed and shackled.  Think Progress recently reported on Guerrero’s story and what makes her story unique and tragic.

Guerrero was arrested on June 2, 2012 for drug possession in Wichita Falls, Texas.  During her first OB/GYN visit after being detained, she was advised that she was 34 weeks pregnant.  Not long after this visit, on the evening of June 11, 2012, Guerrero began complaining of bloody discharge, lower back pain, and cramping, all of which can be signs of preterm labor.  Her baby’s heartbeat was checked by a nurse, and she was sent back to her cell where she continued to endure painful contractions.

At 11:00 p.m, Guerrero requested help via the medical alert button in her cell, but she was ignored for another four and a half hours.  She was finally taken to the nurse’s station for a second time at 3:30 a.m. where they advised her that her bleeding was from a vaginal infection she had been treated for.  Guerrero was then placed in dirty solitary confinement cell and given only a mat.

Guerrero’s water broke around 5:00 a.m., and she pleaded with the nurse to stop and help her as she passed by her cell to check on other inmates.  A detention officer happened to walk by and see her baby’s head crowning, and her daughter was soon born on the mat they had given her to lay on.

The baby was born with the umbilical cord tied around her neck, and she was blue.  Rather than check the baby’s vital signs or administer CPR, the nurse simply held the baby for 20 minutes until an ambulance arrived.  Guerrero’s daughter, Myrah Arianna Guerrero, was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m.

With the help of an attorney, Guerrero is now filing a federal lawsuit and suing the county and the sheriff.  She is also filing a civil lawsuit against Correctional Healthcare Management and the nurse, LaDonna Anderson, who ignored her cries for help.  Anderson’s nursing license was expired, so Guerrero is suing for breach of duty of care and medical malpractice.

Allowing women who are incarcerated to give birth humanely and safely are issues of reproductive justice that cannot be ignored.  Women are the fastest growing group of inmates, and it is estimated that one in 33 inmates are pregnant at their time of admission to federal prison.  The failed war on drugs means that many of the women who find themselves incarcerated are poor women of color who would benefit more from drug treatment centers than prison.  Women, men, and children deserve better than to be failed at every level of the criminal justice system.

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