Lackawanna County sued over birth in cell (Scranton, Chambersburg: crimes, felony)
Northeastern PennsylvaniaScranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pocono area
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County, prison staff sued over birth in cell
BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK
In a federal lawsuit filed Monday, Shakira Staten, who gave birth in a Lackawanna County Prison cell two weeks ago, accused county and prison officials of violating her and her baby’s Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.
She and her daughter, Samiyah, suffered from “a total lack of medical care” that endangered their lives, her lawyer, Nicholas E. Fick, alleges in the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Scranton.
The suit blames the county and officials for failing to develop a policy for handling pregnant inmates. That failure amounts to “gross negligence and/or deliberate indifference” to well-being of inmates and their children and constitutes “willful or malicious conduct,” according to the suit.
Ms. Staten, 22, a Chambersburg native, is asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
In an interview Saturday, Ms. Staten contended prison officials ignored her repeated pleas over a four-hour period to be hospitalized after going into labor. She said she was alone as she gave birth. The baby fell to the floor near her cell door while she tried to get guards’ attention, she said. She finally got them to take her to the hospital by picking up the baby and showing it to them, she said.
County officials say Ms. Staten was frequently checked while in the cell — one monitored by a closed-circuit camera — and prison staff members were with her when the baby was born.
County officials say they can’t comment publicly on her care because of a federal medical privacy law, but say prison officials acted appropriately under the circumstances and were with Ms. Staten when the baby was born.
After meeting privately, the county Prison Board declined to comment Monday on all elements of the case, but said their review is stymied without access to her medical records and called for their release.
Mr. Fick said his client has agreed to release the records.
The suit names as defendants the county, the prison, Warden Janine Donate, Dr. Edward Zaloga, who is the county’s chief medical officer, and Correctional Care Inc., the Moosic-based company Dr. Zaloga co-owns. Efforts to reach Ms. Donate were unsuccessful. Dr. Zaloga left the Prison Board meeting without commenting.
The other defendants are a male prison guard identified as “Corrections Officer John Doe,” female guards known as “Corrections Officers Jane Doe One and Jane Doe Two” and “Nurse Jane Doe.”
The suit reveals new details of Ms. Staten’s jail stay and the care she received. It says:
¦ Prison officials knew she was a high-risk pregnancy, partly because she was treated at Community Medical Center in mid-May for bleeding and contractions. After a night there, she returned to prison.
¦ She complained July 8 — two days before the birth — of pelvic pressure. After a medical evaluation, prison staff assured her the pressure was normal. Until going into labor, she had no more problems.
¦ She was in bed reading late July 9 when labor pains began.
¦ She was taken around midnight to the medical unit where Nurse Jane Doe and a guard timed her contractions and found her blood pressure rose during a contraction.
¦ Twice, she threw wet toilet paper against the camera lens to obtain help. Both times, a corrections officer came to the cell and cleared the lens, but left her there.
¦ While pleading for help, her water broke, wetting her bed. She told guards, who told her to stay in the cell.
Charged with drug-related crimes, Ms. Staten remains in the prison awaiting an Aug. 2 hearing when she is expected to plead guilty to misusing a telephone in the commission of a felony. By all accounts, she and her baby are doing well.
I think the lawsuit was deserved. Even though she was a criminal, she should not of been treated like this. This could of been anyone's daughter, sister and friend. She should of gotten the proper medical attention for herself and especially her baby. The baby didn't ask to be born on the floor of a jail cell. It was the prison's responsibilty to have done it properly. They could of transported her to a local hospital, so the baby could be born under normal conditions.
If the events had happened as described, I might agree that the suit was warranted. As it stands, I don't find her to be a very credible individual and I'm sure that at least some of her lawsuit will be found to be exaggerated, if not outright lies.
(No jury duty for me on this one, it would appear...)
I agree about what you are saying. She is a criminal and not a very credible person. And I would say some of it is exaggerated. But if any of it is true and there was a total lack of medical care, someone should be held accountable.
Nope won't be dismissed, too many people from the past and present that work or worked at the prison are too willing to tell the horror stories. I Know a few people that do and have worked as guards and medical staff and its all true, from what I have been told previous to the spin from within, its true. Look deep and see who is a partner with the med group that gets a $140,000 a month payment to provide medical services to the prisoners, you'll be surprised. Not to mention thats alot of cash per month don't you think.
If they've worked there in the past, they're not parties to this current suit. I sincerely doubt that the child "dropped to the floor", among other things, as was claimed, but I'm neither a doctor nor a prison guard. There are too many incredible claims being made in this suit, that if they actually had a history of happening, that prison would have been shut down a long time ago.
If there's a history of things like this going on at that prison, then a class action suit would be the way to go, wouldn't it? One isn't pending to my knowledge.
Lawsuits are not the salve for all of the county's and city's ills, as much as some people feel that they are. When meritless lawsuits like this one (apparently) and others (you know who's I'm talking about) are filed and subsequently dismissed on a quite routine basis, the ones with real teeth that actually stand a chance of making a change are diluted and less effective. And not everything in the area is a goddamned conspiracy theory designed to line the coffers of a select McFew.
On the surface, the suit is without real merit with a highly suspect plantiff, and will not advance very far.
Those kind of people are used to having babies on the fly. It's not like she's going to nuture him/her to grow up to cure cancer or anything. The mother will most likely abuse the child a lot worse in the not to distant future (along with the rest of her flock)..
I have no idea what sort of mother this woman is or will turn out to be, and I'm not assuming that she will abuse her daughter or any other child of hers in any way should she come into custody of any or all of them. Let's get that very clear. This thread is not about her skills as a parent.
The lawsuit, however, appears to be nothing more than an attempted money grab, and seems to be completely without merit.
No baby deserves to start their life out that way. NO BABY. And who knows, that baby could someday find a cure for cancer. No prisoner deserves to have a baby this way either. I think the lawsuit is waranted. I beleive what she said happened really did. If they did everything right and acted so wonderfully like they claim, then why was the baby born there and not in a hospital, especially being a high risk pregnancy.
I feel for her, I had a baby right in Good Sam Hospital on Lond Island in similar circumstances. Everyone ignored me. They told me I wasn't going to have my baby till tomorrow. It was traumautizing for me and my husband, life threatening to my child, and it was the reason I never had more kids. I couldn't talk about it for many years . I'm sorry I didn't sue.
...which is nothing at all like a certain someone who filed an extravagant $1,050,000 lawsuit against a certain city council president due to a personal vendetta, is it?
Do you think it was filed for money or a attempt to get her and others on the stand and have to answer questions under oath in a court of law?
Why do think that her attorney has filed so many objections? They are doing everything to actually keep this out of a court room.
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