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Suit: She Gave Birth on Jail Cell Floor as Staff Laughed

Jazmin Valentine alleges she was ignored during her 6-hour labor
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 28, 2022 12:46 PM CDT
Suit: She Gave Birth on Jail Cell Floor as Staff Laughed
This undated photo shows Jazmin Valentine and her baby at a supermarket.   (Deatrie Young via AP)

A woman who said she was left to give birth to her baby alone on the dirty, concrete floor of her jail cell in Maryland filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging that jail nurses ignored her screams and pleas for help for six hours. Jazmin Valentine alleges some nurses working for the jail's contracted medical provider, Pennsylvania-based PrimeCare Medical Inc., said she was withdrawing from drugs, not in labor, and some jail staffers and medical staff laughed at her, saying she was just trying to get out of her cell late at night in July 2021 at the Washington County jail in Hagerstown.

Valentine claims she punched the walls of her solitary confinement cell, which didn't have blankets or sheets, during her most painful contractions, and removed what she believed was her baby's amniotic sac and slid it under her cell door to prove she was about to have a baby. "I felt like I was in the hands of the devil, honestly," she says, per the AP. A fellow inmate, hearing Valentine's pleas, called Valentine's boyfriend, who called the jail pleading with staffers to help her, the lawsuit said. The nurses also ignored a concern raised by a jail deputy about Valentine, but he didn't contact any superiors, the lawsuit said.

He discovered Valentine holding the baby girl in her cell about 15 minutes after she was born just after midnight on July 4, 2021, and an ambulance was called to take them to the hospital, according to the lawsuit. Because of the unsanitary conditions in the cell, the baby developed a type of staph bacteria infection that's resistant to many antibiotics, the lawsuit said. Valentine was more than eight months pregnant when she was arrested for an alleged probation violation and taken to the jail the day before she went into labor, the lawsuit said. Valentine was released several days later and her baby is doing well, she said Tuesday.

(More jail stories.)

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