Thursday, April 2, 2009
Woman says Racine jail's response slow before baby died
By Jesse Garza of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Apr. 1, 2009
The death of an infant born prematurely to a Racine County Jail inmate early Wednesday is under investigation amid an allegation that jail staff took more than four hours to respond to the mother's initial call for help.
According to a release from the Racine County Sheriff's Department:
At 5:19 a.m., jail staff responding to an emergency buzzer activated from a cell found a 20-year-old woman in the process of giving birth.
The mother and living infant were taken to Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-All Saints hospital in Racine, where the infant, born 3 months premature, was pronounced dead at 5:58 a.m.
An autopsy was scheduled to determine the cause of the infant's death, according to the release.
The mother, identified by a relative as Melissa Woten, was in good condition at All Saints late Wednesday, said Wheaton Franciscan spokesman Jennifer Garbo.
Tamara Pouliot, the mother of Woten's cellmate, claims her daughter pushed an emergency button in her cell about 1 a.m. Wednesday and told jail staff via intercom that Woten was bleeding.
Pouliot said her daughter told her no one came to the cell, and that she pressed the emergency button two more times, but no one answered.
Pouliot said it wasn't until after Woten gave birth in a toilet and her daughter hit the emergency button a fourth time that jail staff finally responded.
"My daughter was in tears," Pouliot said, describing a telephone call she received about 10 a.m.
Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Dan Klatt said no further information would be released until an investigation into the incident is complete.
According to a jail official, Woten has been jailed since Jan. 9 on charges of resisting an officer and escape from custody.