Callous Negligence by Jail Staff
(CA) – Sandra Quinones was six months pregnant when she was to start a 70-day sentence at the Orange County Jail in California. While incarcerated, Ms. Quinones’ water broke. She repeatedly pressed on the emergency button to get help. No one came for two hours. Their callousness and negligence didn’t stop there. For whatever reason, they determined it was not an emergency.
Quinones’ lawyer, Richard P. Herman, wrote in the April 2020 complaint that the county employees decided not to call an ambulance and took her to the hospital on a “nonemergency basis,” leaving her in the back of a van while they stopped at a Starbucks on the way, according to the Times. It is unclear how long the county employees were at the cafe before they ultimately brought Quinones to the Globe Medical Center in Anaheim.
Deputies Stop for Coffee Break Leaving Inmate Bleeding in Van
Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department decided not to call an ambulance. Instead, they transported Ms. Quinones in a county van. The deputies decided to stop at a Starbucks for coffee even though they knew Quinones was suffering.
Jail staff then treated the transportation as a nonemergency, and on the way to the hospital, staffers even stopped at Starbucks while Quinones was in labor. The complaint alleges staffers “made Quinones wait in the back of a van (at Starbucks) bleeding and in labor instead of transporting Quinones directly to the hospital.”
Quinones Files Lawsuit Against Orange County
Sandra Quinones was released from jail in April of 2016. She filed a lawsuit against Orange County and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The lawsuit claimed the wrongful death of her child due negligent treatment and delay to transport. That death caused emotional distress which resulted in PTSD and depression.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors have offered a $480,000 settlement. It’s unknown if Quinones has accepted the offer yet.
Inmates Treated Not Given Proper Medical Care
Quinones’ case was originally part of a larger class-action lawsuit brought by several inmates who alleged mistreatment in Orange County jails, according to the Register.
Her case was split off from the larger suit, which also included a second woman who had been pregnant and alleged she was denied proper medical care by jail staff and subsequently lost her baby in childbirth. In April 2021, Orange County approved a $1.5 million settlement for that inmate, according to the Register.