A Colorado woman who was captured on surveillance video giving birth alone in a Denver jail cell last year filed a lawsuit against the city Wednesday, claiming that deputies and nurses ignored her pleas and refused to call her an ambulance during her five-hour delivery.
Diana Sanchez, 26, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Colorado that claims she gave birth at the Denver County Jail on July 31, 2018, without medical supervision despite informing the jail staff her water broke and that she had been experiencing contractions for hours.
Sanchez was in custody for a probation violation after being arrested for identity fraud, Fox 31 Denver reported.
Her attorney released silent video clips from the jail cell surveillance camera that they claim show Sanchez lying down on a narrow bed and crying out in pain before she pulls off her pants and gives birth. A nurse comes in minutes after the delivery and calls for an ambulance, they claim.
"I can't even begin to describe it because it was so painful," Sanchez told Fox 31 Denver last year. "They're so inhumane in that facility. They see you like you're garbage."
The lawsuit names the city and county of Denver, Denver Health Medical Center and six people, including both nurses and deputies, as defendants in the case, The Denver Post reported.
Sanchez was nine months pregnant when she was booked into the jail. She had been placed in a medical unit under the care of nurses at the time she delivered her son, according to the sheriff’s department.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges jail officials "cruelly chose convenience over compassion" by not calling an ambulance, and instead, waited for a non-emergency van to transport Sanchez to the hospital despite knowing the ride likely wouldn't be available for hours until the morning booking process was completed.
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On Thursday, the Denver County Sheriff's Department said it has since changed its policy to ensure that pregnant inmates who are in any stage of labor are immediately taken to the hospital.
In December, the Denver Sheriff’s Department cleared its deputies of wrongdoing in the case.
Denver Health Medical Center confirmed to Fox 31 Denver that it completed its own internal investigation into the incident but will not share the result of the investigation publicly pending ongoing litigation.
The center is contracted with the Denver Sheriff’s Department to provide nursing staff at the jail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.