Orange County prosecutors have concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing on behalf of the sheriff’s department in two jail miscarriages last year, officials announced Thursday.
In a letter to Sheriff Don Barnes dated May 29, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said jail officials properly cared for the incarcerated mother, who was arrested by Santa Ana police Nov. 6 on suspicion of misappropriation of stolen property and bringing a controlled substance into the Orange County Jail, according to a report from Deputy District Attorney Drew Haughton.
In another letter to the sheriff dated June 3, prosecutors also cleared sheriff’s officials from any wrongdoing in a separate miscarriage in May of last year.
It was not immediately clear why there was a delay in releasing the letters.
The mother in the November miscarriage was identified only as Guadalupe R. It was determined shortly after she was arrested that she was 18 weeks pregnant.
Guadalupe told medical staff that she smoked cigarettes and had a methamphetamine addiction, Haughton said. She was given medicine for a urinary tract infection, the prosecutor said.
On Nov. 7 she refused to provide a urine sample, and on Nov. 10 when she saw blood after urinating in her toilet she flushed it before staff could examine it, and then she was rushed to an emergency room for an ultrasound, Haughton said.
A doctor said the blood came from the infection and prescribed more medication, Haughton said.
On Nov. 11, she pressed the emergency button in her cell and reported she was bleeding, Haughton said. A nurse checked on her and told the inmate to contact medical staff if symptoms persisted.
Later that day, when she was checked by a nurse again she said the symptoms had subsided, but spots of blood were on her bed sheet. The nurse wanted to do a fetus heart tone check, but Guadalupe refused, Haughton said.
“I just want to rest, the morning nurse checked,” Guadalupe said, according to the prosecutor.
She was supposed to be given new underwear, sheets and feminine pads, but jail guards failed to do that.
Haughton said that did not contribute to the miscarriage, which happened after she was taken back to a hospital on Nov. 12.
“OCJ medical staff ensured Guadalupe R. was taken to the hospital multiple times for her to obtain the appropriate level of medical care,” Haughton said. “Unfortunately, Guadalupe R. was a noncompliant patient.”
The mother in the May 12, 2018, miscarriage was identified as Ciera S., who was 28 and living in Santa Ana at the time.
Ciera was booked into the Orange County Jail in January of last year after her arrest by Santa Ana police on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance. When she was arrested a pregnancy test was positive and she admitted using methamphetamine since she was 13 and had taken the drug a couple days prior, according to a report by Deputy District Attorney Craig Williams.
Ciera was released from the jail on March 30, 2018, but was arrested again on April 29, 2018, on suspicion of possession and transportation of a controlled substance and cruelty to a child. She told police she had been smoking methamphetamine while 23 weeks pregnant, Williams reported.
On April 30, 2018, she told Orange County Health Care Agency officials during a prenatal evaluation that she was a daily marijuana user and smoked the drug the day before, Williams said.
When she was examined May 2, 2018, a doctor indicated she was 18 weeks pregnant and that the fetus was in breech. She was due Aug. 29, 2018.
Ciera pressed an emergency button in her cell on May 12 because of stomach cramps and vaginal bleeding. It was determined later she had a severe infection, and when she tried to relieve cramping and pain with a bowel movement she started delivering the baby, Williams said. She knocked on a nurse’s door saying, “I am having the baby,” according to the prosecutor.
Paramedics were summoned and the baby was pronounced deceased. An autopsy showed the miscarriage was due to “intra-uterine demise associated with placental infraction and chorioamnionitis,” and that the death was natural.
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