A Michigan woman claims she was ignored last year by a jail’s staff when she told them she was going into labor, leading her to prematurely give birth on the floor of a cell, according to reports.
Jessica Preston was eight months pregnant when she was arrested for driving with a suspended license, and taken to the Macomb County Jail when she was unable to make her $10,000 cash bond, she told CBS This Morning.
Days into her time at the jail, Preston realized that she was going to give birth, but staffers at the facility did not believe her, she said.
“They told me to knock my crap off, to stop lying to them, they could put another charge on me if I kept lying to them,” Preston told CBS.
Preston asked to go to the infirmary three times, bleeding during the last trip to the medical unit, she said, and eventually gave birth on a jail cell floor. Footage courtesy of WDIV Detroit shows her giving birth surrounded by staff, but she says there was no doctor present.
"I was scared," Preston said. "I was terrified — I was so worried for both of us that either one of us could catch something that would be life-threatening."
Her son Elijah was born one month early and weighed less than five pounds.
“I was scared,” she told CBS. “My first son was delivered by emergency C-section because of a placental eruption … so by having this one naturally I could have been bleeding to death on the floor and no one would have known.”
Preston spent five more days in jail after delivering her son.
Now nearly a year old, the little boy is in good health, but his mother said there are still times that she’s brought back to that moment in the jail cell.
“I remember hearing him cry, I remember how small he was,” Preston said. “It didn’t have to happen! That’s where I’m completely blown away!”
Macomb County Jail is facing two federal lawsuits claiming its officials have deprived sick inmates of medical care, records obtained by CBS showed.
In 2014, inmate Peter Stojcevski was reportedly found dead in his cell after going through a painful withdrawal from doctor-prescribed methadone for more than two weeks.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel has defended the jail, telling reporters that deputies repeatedly checked Stojcevski and notified medical staff, WXYZ reported.
One year earlier, Jennifer Meyers died in her cell from a severe bacterial infection after allegedly suffering for days. Macomb County attorney John Schapka told The Deroit News that the county “would vigorously defend itself and its personnel.”
Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said Preston was cared for properly, telling CBS the facility had nothing to hide.
"I’m 100 percent that our people did what they need to do," Wickersham says. "At some point, she said she had to go to the hospital, the baby came before that happened."
Correct Care Solutions, the medical care provider at the jail, is the defendant in more than 200 active federal civil cases across the country, CBS This Morning reported.
A spokesman for the company would not comment on specific cases, but told CBS This Morning: “Our practice standards of care are held to the highest industry level in the country. While we fully understand that the ideal place for a pregnancy is not a jail cell, we also know — through first-hand experience — that a cell delivery might be the only option."