A former Milwaukee County Jail Inmate who is suing Milwaukee County after delivering a stillborn baby did not deliver that baby at the jail, News/Talk 1130 WISN has learned.
Jennifer Jawson, 35, was a heroin addict who was arrested for using cocaine in violation of her probation and did not receive much (if any) prenatal care prior to her arrest in December. When she arrived in the jail on December 2nd, she and her unborn baby were in poor health and jail staffers immediately transferred her to the Aurora Sinai Medical Center.
She was cleared to return to the jail later that day. For the next week, she received daily medical care at the Milwaukee County Jail in which her and her unborn child's vital signs were routinely monitored.
On December 9th, her probation hold was lifted and Jawson was released from custody. However, she complained that she was suffering contractions, so the jail arranged for an ambulance to take her back to Aurora Sinai for observation. She was examined there and, critically, released because doctors did not find anything wrong with either her or her unborn baby.
Once she arrived at home, the contractions continued, so she went to Columbia St. Mary's Hospital, where she delivered a stillborn baby.
Jawson's attorney claims that "she was denied access to methadone, a drug used to treat opiate addiction, and was improperly prescribed pain reliever Tylenol 3 during her jail stint."
Still, despite hospital visits both before and after her jail stint, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that "no investigating agency or medical provider has linked the death of Jawson’s unborn child to her treatment in the jail."
Moreover, the Milwaukee County Jail's medical staff is contracted by and reports to the Milwaukee County Executive's Office, not the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department, which handles the overall operation of and security for the jail.
Four recent deaths in the jail have been political fodder for opponents of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, but medical records indicate that all four were very unhealthy people when they entered custody.
Jawson, too, was a drug addict who was prescribed methadone for heroin use and, according to her probation violation, was in possession of and using drugs while pregnant. This, far more than anything that happened in her six-day jail stint, was likely to blame for her delivering a stillborn baby, and this supposition is backed by the fact that St. Mary's doctors found nothing wrong and released her after she left the Milwaukee County Jail.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke made his first public comments about the allegations on The Dan O'Donnell Show: