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Posted under: Race & Identity News

Attorney Says Mentally Ill Woman Gave Birth Alone In Her Florida Jail Cell, Only An 'Earshot' Away From Help

The victim's lawyer believes the Broward county jail ignored the woman's cry for assistance.

An incarcerated pregnant Florida woman was reportedly left alone to deliver her child in an isolated jail cell.

On April 10, the woman identified as Tammy Jackson was held at the North Broward Bureau jail as she went into labor. Jackson began to feel pains around 3 a.m. that morning. She reportedly told jail staff about her contractions, but allegedly no one tended to her needs, according to The Washington Post. For about seven hours, she remained untreated while giving birth to her daughter.

Public defender Howard Finkelstein said the jail staff was well-aware of his client's pregnancy.

“She was forced to deliver her baby alone,” Finkelstein wrote in a two-page letter to the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO). Jackson was booked on March 27 for cocaine possession charges.                                           

The scathing letter took the police department to task while also demanding the jail's procedures be reviewed. According to the Miami Herald, the sheriff's office claimed to have only learned about the delivery two days ago.

About two weeks before the April 10 delivery, the 34-year-old  woman told staff members she was experiencing contractions.

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They decided to call an on-call physician instead of taking her to a medical center. On the day of the delivery, the staff called a doctor once more, but the physician failed to show. Jackson gave birth alone. 

“Not only was Ms. Jackson’s health callously ignored, the life of her child was also put at grave risk,” Finkelstein wrote.

BSO spokeswoman Gina Carter said “a Well Path medical team, including a physician and two nurses, attended to the mother and child. Child Protective Investigations Section was notified, and the baby was placed with an appropriate caregiver.”

She did not mention what time the medical responders attended to Jackson. The department told media they will launch an investigation into the incident. 

“Just imagine going through the trauma of delivering a baby, screaming for help, people are within earshot, and no one comes to your aid from 4 a.m., when the contractions start, until 10 a.m.,” said Chief Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes. “All the while knowing people are in earshot.”

Jackson remains in police custody, but is currently in a nearby hospital recovering from labor.

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