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Or this…. [Trigger Warning: Prison Violence]

May 17, 2010

From the Syracuse Post-Standard: [Trigger Warning] Pregnant inmate died after hours of agony in Syracuse jail

Chuniece Patterson was pregnant and complaining of abdominal pain in her cell at the Justice Center jail in Syracuse.

Fourteen hours later, she was dead.

The jail’s records of Patterson’s medical care give no indication that anyone examined her abdomen. No pelvic exam. No ultrasound. Any of them would’ve shown she had an ectopic pregnancy in her fallopian tube and would’ve probably indicated that it had ruptured, according to a doctor. Surgery could’ve saved her life, he said.

The first time [Deputy Diane Stech saw Patterson on the floor], Patterson obeyed Stech’s order to get up, the report said. Fifteen minutes later, Patterson was on the floor again, leaning on the toilet and splashing water in her face, Stech wrote. The deputy told her to stop and Patterson rolled onto the floor, the report said….

“I looked down at inmate Patterson, again told inmate to get off the floor,” Stech wrote. “It looked as if the inmate looked at me. I continued with my tour.”

Inmate Rhonda Dunn said she saw Patterson through her cell window. Patterson was lying on the floor, Dunn said. She’d heard Patterson moaning all night, and watched her writhing in pain, Dunn said.

“I was like, ‘Miss Diane, get over there!’” Dunn said she told Stech.

On her last visit to Patterson’s cell, Stech found her unresponsive, the report said. Stech called in other deputies and medical workers, who tried to revive her, the records show.

There’s not much to be said that hasn’t been said before. Assuming that authorities were unaware (or more likely, indifferent) to criticisms that police target minority communities for particularly harsh punishments and that jails are exceedingly dangerous places where authorities punish inmates (notably LGBT people and heterosexual women) with unofficially sanctioned rape, assault, denial of health care and other forms of violence that fly in the face of the idea of jails as sites of “rehabilitation”, it’s hard to believe that they were unprepared to deal with Ms. Patterson’s ectopic pregnancy. An inmate died a similar death in the same jail in the 1990s.

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