After a painful contraction, Shakira Staten would rise from the bare-mattressed bunk in her Lackawanna County Prison camera cell, trudge to the door and try to get someone’s attention.Every time, she says, she was ignored, over and over, until her baby dropped to the floor next to the cell door as she pleaded one last time.
Through a prison phone from the other side of impenetrable glass, Ms. Staten met with The Times-Tribune on Saturday, recounting — in graphic detail — her version of the events which culminated in her giving birth July 10 in her jail cell.
The story told by Ms. Staten, 22, differs significantly from what county and prison officials have said in recent days.
Other than to say Ms. Staten was checked frequently, county officials won’t discuss her care during the four hours she was in the hospital’s medical unit and the camera cell, citing a federal medical privacy law.
“I was in excruciating pain,” Ms. Staten said during an interview at the prison. “It was terrible. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, what I went through.
“I thought I was going to die.”
As the mother of a 2-year-old boy, she knew what contractions were; she knew she was in labor. She knew it at midnight when she first told a guard to take her to the medical unit, she said.
She did not want her little girl born in prison.
Ms. Staten said she begged time after time to go to the hospital.
Dressed only in a T-shirt, flip-flops and prison-issued pants, she pounded on the door, she screamed for help, she pleaded for guards to take her to the hospital.
No one was with her when the baby was born, she said emphatically. No one.
“I can’t believe this happened to me,” she said.
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