Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Carmel on the Case: Jail Baby
Questions tonight about the care a pregnant inmate received at a Broward County Jail when she went into labor. Her baby died, and the family is asking could the child have been saved? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
WSVN -- The birth of a child is a magical moment, but for 20-year-old Jornae Samuel, the magic turned into misery.
Greg McFarlane: "It appears that our client when she got to the hospital, the baby may have actually fell out. At the time that happened, the baby's already deceased."
Jornae is an inmate at the North Broward Detention Facility where she is serving time for theft. It was her first offense.
Her mother says she learned of the baby's death by a phone call from the jail.
Delores Isom: "'I just want to let you know that your daughter had the baby, but the baby was stillborn,' and I was like, 'Oh, no,' and the family just went distraught."
Her parents say things went from bad to worse when they were told Jornae was kept at the jail from the onset of labor, around six in the evening until after one in the morning. A delay her family thinks cost the baby his life.
Delores Isom: "She said she was in so much pain, she began to scream and then yell, and no one came, you know. They said they couldn't do anything unless her water breaks."
Derek Isom: "But in my opinion, I don't think it was that baby's time to die."
The family is paying for an autopsy to determine the exact cause and time of death, and they've hired an attorney to investigate what happened at the jail that night.
Greg McFarlane: "That child should have been given every opportunity to become a part of this world."
This woman is the mother of another inmate at the jail who is also pregnant.
Mother of another inmate: "My daughter is traumatized."
She's asked we protect her identity. Her daughter told her Jornae was left to suffer with very little medical attention.
Mother of another inmate: "And she kept screaming in the cell, 'Why are they doing this to me? Why won't they help me?"
Jornae's attorney says three other inmates have made similar statements.
Carmel Cafiero: "But BSO says that is not the story it is being told by officials at the jail, and that, initially, it appears the medical care was appropriate."
Veda Coleman-Wright: "We spoke to our health care provider, and they have documentation showing that she was seen several times."
But BSO says it will investigate this case further.
Veda Coleman-Wright: "We're an open book. We have nothing to hide, so we want to be able to help them by providing them with any information. We have to help them deal with this loss."
And the baby's father says it is a heartbreaking loss.
Charles Rodriguez: "I'm not gonna forget him. He always gonna be with me, but as long as I know God is taking care of him, I'll be fine."
In the meantime, Jornae's attorney says he will ask the court to release her to attend her baby's memorial service.
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