Woman files lawsuit after her baby dies while giving birth in MDC | KOB 4

Woman files lawsuit after her baby dies while giving birth in MDC

Ryan Laughlin
October 02, 2019 06:16 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The death of a newborn baby boy is at the center of a lawsuit after the mother gave birth to him in the Metropolitan Detention Center in 2016.

The lawsuit claims the medical team at MDC was understaffed, undertrained and neglected the mother in labor for more than 24 hours.

Back in October 2016, Shawna Tanner tested positive for meth and was booked into MDC. She was eight months pregnant at the time.

"She had had a series of clean tests. She had gone through an extensive recovery period and then had one positive test after over a year of clean tests,” said Tanner’s lawyer Jessica Hernandez.

Hernandez said that is when Tanner’s life took a turn.

"I think that as any person, learning these kind of facts about what another human went through, it's really hard,” she said.

According to the civil suit filed against MDC’s contracted medical team, Wellpath, they were understaffed. At one point they were “reduced to one physician and one physician assistant.”

When Tanner went into labor she experienced 24 hours of pain and negligence, the lawsuit claimed. No medical provider was present that day. Tanner’s requests to go to the hospital were denied by staff. After she requested to go back to her cell to be among other inmates for emotional support, she was instead moved to a cell by herself according to the lawsuit.

An ambulance was called the following day. After paramedics looked at the Wellpath doctor to deliver the baby, he “responded by throwing his hands up and nodding ‘no.’”

Tanner gave birth to her baby inside the jail. According to the lawsuit, an autopsy determined the baby died in the latter part of delivery with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.

"There are going to be doctors in this case who will say they deliver babies like this every day,” Hernandez said. “And the complications that happen during labor, absolutely routine, predictable, manageable and we think one phone call could have save baby Jay's life.

Wellpath told KOB 4 that they do not comment on pending litigation. MDC and Bernalillo County said they no longer conduct business with Wellpath, but Tanner’s attorneys plan on filing another lawsuit against the county.


Ryan Laughlin

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