Wichita County Jail, Witchita Falls, Texas
When Nicole experienced major pain and pregnancy complications, she was repeatedly denied medical intervention. Though she pleaded with staff for hours to help her, she was forced to deliver her baby, alone, on a dirty cell floor. Her daughter was born not breathing, the umbilical wrapped around her baby’s throat.
Three years after the tragic death of her baby, Myrah, in Wichita County Jail, Nicole Guerrero sits in a conference room with her family, about to endure 6 hours of mediation in her fight for some form of justice for her daughter. Though news sources often reported that Nicole was arrested for a drug possession charge, on June 2, 2012 she was actually arrested after disclosing to her probation officer that she missed an appointment deadline due to a long waiting list for a sonogram. Her parole officer reported her and she was arrested for violation of parole. Nine days later, Nicole would endure neglect, trauma, and tragedy.
The following language comes directly from her lawsuit filed against the nurse, the medical company, and the jail that refused to provide her with medical treatment.
At approximately 6:30pm on June 11, 2012, Nicole began experiencing lower back pain, cramps [and other symptoms*]. Wichita County Jail detention offers escorted Nicole to the nurses’ station, where “Nurse Amanda” listened to the baby’s heartbeat, and informed Nicole that the heartbeat sounded fine. Nicole then asked the nurse about what warning signs she should be aware of, and the nurse told her that she should be concerned when she bleeds through 2 full pads.
At approximately 11:00pm, June 11, 2012, after lockdown, Nicole began experiencing increasingly painful cramps, contractions, and severe lower back pain. Recognizing that something was wrong, Nicole pushed the medical emergency button, seeking assistance for her worsening condition. Nicole continued to push the medical emergency button, but her requests for help were ignored until 3:30am. At that time, Wichita County Jail detention officers removed her from her cell and took her back to the nurses’ station. Nicole was not examined at this time, although Nicole showed Nurse Anderson her used sanity napkins, filled with blood.
Anderson told Nicole the reason for the [symptoms] and cramps was because the Flagyl pills prescribed by [her doctor], were “getting the infection out. The pills were doing their job.” Subsequently, detention officers escorted Nicole to the “cage.” And she was given a mat to lay on. Shortly thereafter, Nicole’s pain worsened, and she began to experience intense pressure. Nicole, in obvious distress, began to moan, scream, and cry. She also attempted to talk herself through this ordeal, since she was not receiving any medical assistance.
Nicole remained in the “cage,” where she continued to moan, cry, and ask for help, which caused the jail trustees to laugh and ask the detention officers, “what are y’all going to do with her?” They also suggested that the detention officers move her to solitary confinement because her screams and moans were irritating them.
At 5:00AM, Nicole felt [her water break]. At this time, Nicole heard Nurse Anderson state that she was going to go do “sugar checks” on the male inmates. Realizing the Nurse Anderson would be walking by, Nicole called out to her and pleaded for her to look at the blood and fluids on and around Nicole. Nurse Anderson did not look at Nicole, instead, she told Nicole that she would “be right back,” and walked away.
After this last encounter with Nurse Anderson, the pressure […] became so severe that she […] checked for the baby’s head. Simultaneously, Detention Officer “Boyd” walked by and Nicole asked her to confirm if what she felt was the baby’s head. The Officer looked and determined that it was a baby’s head protruding […].
The pressure became so severe that Nicole could no longer keep from pushing. While in the “cage,” Nicole delivered her baby daughter, and Detention Officer “Boyd” held the baby. The baby was dark purple, and had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.
Several minutes later, Nurse Anderson entered the “cage,” and took the baby from Detention Officer “Boyd,” and told Nicole, “Just to let you know, I had to unwrap the cord from the baby’s neck, and as long as we don’t cut the cord, she’s gonna have some bit of oxygen to help her.” Nurse Anderson then proceeded to wrap the baby in Nicole’s towel, but did not make any attempt to revive her by CPR or any other method, although the baby was unresponsive and had a dark purple complexion. Instead, Nurse Anderson simply patted the baby lightly on her back until the ambulance arrived, approximately 20 minutes later.
Nicole remained in the “cage,” where she had to deliver the placenta.
The baby, Myrah Arianna Guerrero, was pronounced dead on June 12, 2012, at approximately 6:30am, at United Regional Healthcare Systems.
Pregnant Women in Texas County Jail Deserve Better Than This, Dallas Morning News. http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20140626-pregnant-women-in-texas-county-jails-deserve-better-than-this.ece
Expecting Care: The shameful truth about how pregnant women are treated in Texas county jails, The Texas Observer. http://www.texasobserver.org/pregnant-inmates-treated-texas-county-jail/