After giving birth in the Alachua County Jail on Aug. 9, a Florida lady is blaming the jail for her newborn daughter’s death. The baby was taken to the hospital, where she died a short time later.
Erica Thompson, 25, told CBS News 4, “I essentially held my kid all night, till she died until she turned blue.”
Thompson was detained on two current warrants, one for felony probation violation and the other for failing to appear on a traffic offense, on Aug. 9. She was arrested and sent to the Alachua County Jail, where she informed a nurse that she was having contractions despite the fact that she was only six months pregnant.
Thompson maintains a nurse informed her she couldn’t be in labor because she hadn’t dilated yet the day before when she was checked at the hospital.
Thompson, a mother of two older children, was aware that the baby was on the way, but she said that jail employees ignored her screams. “I’m like, I’m going to have my baby,” she says. I’m yelling. Please get me out of here because I’m about to have my baby. I feel like I’m about to give birth to my child. When I stated that, I felt like all bets were off, and everyone needed to come in and check on me to see what was going on. I’ve had children previously, so I understand how you feel. “I’m not just talking; I’m about to have my baby,” she explained.
When staff discovered Thompson was actually giving birth, EMS was summoned, but by the time they arrived, the baby had already been born and the umbilical cord had been severed, according to Lt. Kaley Behl of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department. There was no medical assistance available, according to Thompson, except the nurse.
Both the mother and baby Ava were taken to UF Health Shands Hospital, where physicians notified Thompson that the infant was too little to survive. Doctors told her there was nothing they could do for the baby, so she was given to Thompson.
“They didn’t try to save her or put her in an incubator or anything. They put her in a crib as soon as I got there and told me my kid wasn’t going to live,” Thompson posted on Facebook. “My kid is still moving and her heart is beating in my arms – why aren’t you all attempting to save her?” She passed away a few hours later. My child might have been saved.”
According to Behl, an inquiry into the incident is currently underway.
“They are medically tested before they are ever put into the jail, just like any other inmate. Behl informed the Gainesville Times that she was transferred to the female infirmary and placed on 15-minute checks. “She went into active labor and EMS was dispatched. Before EMS arrived, she had given birth. They helped her deliver the baby and then transported her and the baby to the hospital.”
In a statement, the hospital stated that it does not comment on patients.
Last Monday, Thompson, the baby’s father, and demonstrators gathered outside the jail, demanding justice and alleging that prison officials had broken a state law adopted last year requiring convicts in labor to be transported to a medical institution and provided medical attention right away.
Thompson stated on Facebook, “Alachua County Jail is accountable for all of my physical and mental anguish and suffering, as well as the loss of my daughter.”
Thompson’s GoFundMe page has received nearly $4,000, which will be used to fund food, transportation, and postpartum care while she grieves. The family intends to file a lawsuit.