Judge: Woman's lawsuit over prison medical care can advance

Judge: Woman's lawsuit over prison medical care can advance



HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a lawsuit about whether a woman who gave birth in a Connecticut prison cell was denied medical care can advance toward a trial.

Tianna Laboy’s lawyers argue that officials inside York Correctional Institution in East Lyme, Connecticut did not provide proper prenatal care during her pregnancy and ignored her pleas for help during four days of labor last year.

The state asked that the lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of Correction be thrown out, arguing Laboy did not file the required grievance with authorities and hadn’t exhausted administrative remedies.

U.S. District Judge Janet Hall ruled last week there was no available remedy due to the circumstances of the case, according to The Hartford Courant.

Hall also unsealed an internal inquiry by the Department of Correction into the birth. The department’s investigator identified a series of missteps, including the fact that nurses never connected Laboy’s complaints of abdominal pain to preterm labor.

A department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment Sunday. The department previously said it wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.

Laboy gave birth without medical assistance on the toilet inside her locked and unsanitary cell on Feb. 13, 2018, according to her lawsuit. The child was born more than five weeks premature and spent two weeks in intensive care.

Following the birth, two UConn Health employees were escorted from the prison and told not to return while the incident was under review. Two weeks later, the state announced it would move responsibility for the inmate medical care from UConn Health to the Department of Correction, amid growing concerns over medical treatment, including that given to Laboy.