Diana Sanchez screamed as she writhed on the small bed inside her cell at the Denver County Jail. Gripping the thin mattress with one hand, she tried to use the other to take off her white cloth pants, only managing to free her left leg. Her face glistened with sweat. She had been in labor for hours, and now her baby was coming.
At 10:44 a.m. on July 31, 2018, in a moment captured on surveillance video, Sanchez gave birth to her son alone in her cell without medical supervision or treatment, despite repeatedly telling the jail’s staff that she was having contractions, according to a federal lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Colorado on Wednesday. The suit alleges that instead of “ensuring that Ms. Sanchez was able to give birth in a safe and sanitary medical setting,” nurses and deputies “callously made her labor alone for hours,” forcing her to endure a “horrific experience.”