A former inmate alleges her newborn died in the hospital after staff at a California jail was slow to respond to her medical emergency — including stopping at Starbucks as they drove her to the hospital. On August 26, she has been approved to receive a $480,000 settlement in her federal wrongful death lawsuit, according to CNN.
In a closed-door session on Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the settlement. During the public portion of the meeting, none of the board members commented on it.
Sandra Quinones was six months pregnant when she was arrested in the Orange County Jail in March 2016, according to a 2020 complaint. When her water broke unexpectedly that month, she allegedly pressed the call button on her cell phone for two hours without receiving a response, according to the lawsuit.
When jail staff responded, they “decided to transport Quinones to the hospital on a non-emergency basis” instead of calling an ambulance, the complaint alleges.
The jail staff “did not provide any medical treatment and, instead, stopped for Starbucks on the way to the hospital and made Quinones wait in the back of a van bleeding and in labor instead of transporting Quinones directly to the hospital,” the complaint says.
Quinones gave birth at the hospital, but the baby soon died, leaving her with “severe and extreme post-traumatic stress disorder and depression,” the document states.
It is stated that she was released from jail in April 2016.
The lawsuit asserts that the actions or inactions of the jail staff resulted in Quinones’s injury and the death of her child. She also alleged that the county failed to adequately train its employees.
Attorneys for Orange County had previously moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiff lacked sufficient evidence to support her claim and that the complaint was filed more than two years after the statute of limitations had expired.