Last Monday, the Board of Supervisors in Orange County overwhelmingly decided to pay a former convict $480,000 after she claimed she miscarried because she was not sent to the hospital in time. Sandra Quinones was reportedly six months along in her pregnancy when the incident occurred in March of 2016. In a lawsuit, she claims that after her water broke, she hit the distress call button in her cell, but it took two hours for staff to attend.
The Los Angeles Times reports that instead of calling for an ambulance, deputies placed Quinones in a prison van, where she waited while bleeding and in labor at a Starbucks pit stop on the route to the hospital, where her baby eventually died.
The settlement was verified by county officials, but they and the police have declined to comment further to the media. According to LA Times, Quinones’s lawyer Richard Herman said, “Orange County’s jail has the potential to go to great depths. There are other occurrences, alas.” According to the New York Times, Quinones initially filed her lawsuit in 2020; however, it was dismissed from federal court after attorneys for the county argued that the two-year statute of limitations had expired. However, the court of appeals overturned that ruling because of a provision in California law that, according to NBC News, essentially states that the statute of limitations clock doesn’t start for detained people until they’re freed from custody.
Quinones’ initial arrest was for narcotics possession. Herman claims she has been homeless and “dysfunctional” since her release from jail, where she “spent significant time” following the miscarriage and developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression.
A second lawyer for Quinones, Nicholas Kohan, said his client “will never forget how she was handled that day and no amount of money will ever make her whole,” but he hopes the case will lead to better treatment for pregnant women in Orange County detention.
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