Woman sues jail, WellStar for death of newborn
by Lindsay Field
July 06, 2012 01:41 AM | 7196 views | 22 22 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — A Smyrna woman who lost her baby shortly after giving birth in the Cobb County Jail in 2010 is suing the local jail and WellStar Health System.

Taylor E. Hogan, 24, is seeking an excess of $10,000 in damages from WellStar, a physician assistant who is employed there, David Nguyen, and the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, alleging that they violated her civil rights under the fifth, eighth and 14th amendments and medical malpractice.

The county is being represented by attorney Deborah Dance, who spokesman Robert Quigley said would not be able to comment on the case because of the pending litigation; and WellStar is being represented by attorney Lance Lorusso, who spokesman Keith Bowermaster said also would not be commenting on the suit.

According to Hogan’s warrant, she was arrested when police responded to an incident in the 2900 block of South Cobb Drive in Smyrna and discovered a stolen firearm taken from someone in Athens-Clarke County underneath her couch.

According to jail records, Hogan was arrested on Aug. 3, 2010, on charges of felony theft by receiving a firearm and misdemeanor violation of probation. She was incarcerated until Sept. 10, 2010.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of Georgia on April 24, states that while being booked into the jail, Hogan told the jail nurse that she was 23 weeks pregnant and said she was given a pregnancy test to verify that information and then put on “prenatal care.”

At about 6 p.m. on Aug. 9, Hogan started having cramps and advised Deputy Sheriff Lynda Stoker, who, according to the lawsuit, did nothing but told her to lie down.

Hogan continued complaining about the cramps and pain and was taken to the infirmary sometime around 11 p.m. after she was “left in a hallway” throwing up and crying.

“At around 12:55 a.m., Ms. Hogan delivered her baby prematurely and without assistance in the bathroom causing the baby to fall on the concrete floor head first,” the suit states. “The jail medical staff simply placed Baby Hopkins on top of his mother without even severing the umbilical cord and called an ambulance leaving the baby gasping for air with no assistance.”

The suit says Hogan and the baby boy, who she later named Savante Hopkins Jr., were taken to WellStar Cobb Hospital in Austell within an hour of the delivery. Doctors told Hogan then that her baby would not survive and let the baby stay with her in the hospital room until he died around 9:55 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2010.

The suit states that the Cobb County Jail staff violated Hogan’s eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by not providing any treatment to her during her labor or following the birth of her son.

“Defendants were aware that Ms. Hogan’s condition was deteriorating, yet nothing was done to treat her,” the suit states. “As Baby Hogan lay on his mother’s lap struggling for breath, Defendants did absolutely nothing to assist Baby Hopkins, even to the point of failing to cut the umbilical cord.”

Hogan is suing WellStar and “its employees” for negligence for failing to follow 14 steps related to her delivery, including failure to check to see if she was dilated, providing medication to stop her labor, properly responding to an inmate who is in labor and properly training employees on delivering babies or performing CPR on infants.

She is also suing WellStar, Nguyen and Cobb County for the wrongful acts, pain and suffering, inadequate training and supervision attorney’s fees and lastly punitive damages.

Hogan’s attorney, Jon Sexton of Sexton Law Firm in Stockbridge, said the case is not set to go to trial for at least six months.

“We have six months discovery where we’ll be asking questions, each side back and forth,” he said. “It’ll be some time after that.”

Sexton said they have also learned that the Cobb County Board of Health was to provide nurses for the county jail so they are anticipating adding them to the lawsuit.

Sexton said Hogan contacted his firm about a year ago but she is going public with her story nearly two years later because she wants to make sure women get the assistance she should have if they are pregnant and are in jail.

“She wants to make sure (the jail) changes their policies and procedures where if somebody is in labor, they call a doctor and the hospital,” Sexton said. “She also wants money remuneration … sometimes that’s the only way you can get people’s attention.”

Hogan still lives in Smyrna and is now the mother of a 1-year-old who was born at 25 weeks.

“What’s interesting is that she actually went into labor early with this child as well but was given medication to stop her labor and he is doing fine now,” Sexton said.
Comments
(22)
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Mary C. Tolan
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July 07, 2012
Poor child and mom. Just because mom is in prison doesn't mean that she gives up her right to quality health Care. Especially the poor infant who had no voice in the matter. Will be interesting to follow.
Doright
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July 07, 2012
If you do your best to do the right thing in life, then you can't be convicted in a crime. If someone tries to blame you and you did nothing then you will be free. I am not saying she did anything wrong I do not know nor care. I am just saying do the right thing make god choices and you won't end up in jail. You also have to be held accountable for bad choices if you make them.
anonymous
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July 07, 2012
Just google the daddy, Savante Hopkins. That'll tell you what kind of folks the plaintiffs are.
Just Wait
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July 06, 2012
It tells a lot about the mother when she only values the life of her child at $10,000.
nanny diva
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July 06, 2012
I think it shows it not about th $$$ but abotu doing what is right for jailed women.
Nurse Gail
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July 07, 2012
The attorney figured an amount to sue for, not the client. Because the fetus was 23 weeks, it was basically not viable so she can't sue for a million dollars.
Poor child
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July 06, 2012
Shame on the jail for not providing the baby medical assistance. I am saddened that Ms.Hogan has brought another child into this world. She has been arrested before and needs to get herself together before having children. She is looking for the big payday to support her. Although I think the jail is at fault, it was probably a blessing in disguise.
Not So Fast
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July 06, 2012
@ poor child...You have only heard one side of the story, the criminals side. The other parties cannot comment as to what took place because of on going litigation. If Ms. Hogan had a strong case believe me she would be asking for more than 10,000. She is hoping the county will settle and not go to trial. Why? Because she does not have a strong case any first year law student would tell you that. The county usually does settle these cases not because they are at fault but because it is cheaper to do so. This is why she is only asking for 10,000. Get the money quick, then spend it on God knows what.
anonymous
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July 06, 2012
Not so fast, I like the way you refer to her as "the criminal". That's what most all of the law enforcement folks do when they are being called down by people who have been arrested and who are calling them down for wrong doing.

As for the $10,000.00, my guess is that the MDJ reported it wrong and that the pleadings state that she is seeking in excess of $10,000.00. She had to make sure it was clear that her beef met the limit for jurisdictional purposes.

A cop you may be. A lawyer you are not.
anonymous
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July 06, 2012
What we have here is a great example of Obamacare. This is exactly what you get when you have a single option for health care and absolutely no choice in the matter.

You can always rest assured that the friendly and smart government workers will take care of your healthcare needs. HA!
Anonymous Too
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July 06, 2012
The amount she will untimately seek will be much larger than $10K. The $10K is just the minimum limit needed to file the law suit with the particular court or to have particular legal statutes apply.

As for the Obamacare comment, this has nothing to do with universal healthcare.
eddoc
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July 06, 2012
This has absolutely nothing to do with Obamacare and to politicize this is ignorant at best and abhorrent at worst. I doubt that the county jail is in any way equipped to care for the needs of a premie 23 weeker - heck most hospitals can't care for them.
anonymous
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July 06, 2012
Anonymous Too, you are obviously too dense to realize that government controlled health care is government controlled health care. Healthcare in prisons is a great example of what to expect as a result of Obamacare (yep. It is going to get worse than what we see in the VA hospitals these days).

Whether you are receiving your GOVERNMENT controlled health care in PRISON or outside at the VA hospital or the health department, when you are relying on GOVERNMENT/government personnel to provide your health care...you are asking for sub-standard care/attention. Don't kid yourself. And there won't be a hill of beans that you can do about it.

J Balfour
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July 07, 2012
This has nothing to do with the Affordable Health Care Act. This child was, as I understand it, born at 20 weeks, an extremely preterm infant with a slim chance of surviving even if he had been born at Grady Hospital where there is a large unit reserved to care for very, very small infants. What might be an issue is whether or not the mother had adequate prenatal care, a right that will be insured under the new health care act.

For you critics of the new law, remember that Mitt Romney WROTE the template for this and passed it in MA and defended it until Karl Rove and Grover Norquist told him to get with their program of deception and lies.
Anonymous777
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July 12, 2012
What an ignoramus! You obviously have no clue about health care reform. YOU need to do your research. I won't even begin to explain how WRONG you are!
Luek
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July 06, 2012
"Hogan still lives in Smyrna and is now the mother of a 1-year-old who was born at 25 weeks."

Wow! She is a regular baby making machine! And another heroic welfare dependent "single mom" too.

I just love seeing my hard earned and taken by force tax dollars spent on these freeloaders.

Give Me a Break
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July 06, 2012
And how do you know this lady is on welfare? Because she was arrested? Because she was black? Nothing anywhere has stated that she is on any type of government assistance, and you saying that just shows how low your mentality sinks.

Her having another baby is none of your business. The pain of losing a child can be extremely stressful, and maybe her baby has taken away some of that pain. Again though, none of your business.

Was she convicted of the crime she was charged with? If not, then she isn't a criminal. Cobb didn't get its reputation of throwing innocent people in jail out of thin air.
tired of it
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July 06, 2012
Amen to what you say, i bet she is on welfare, section 8, foodstamps and every other free government entitlement she seems to think she is owed. like most every other single mom out their having babies they can't afford.
Kennesaw Resident
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July 06, 2012
I really am appalled at the comments here considering there was a loss of human life - a child's life at that.

I think that we should show some compassion regardless of the circumstances and withold judgement until more is known.
J Balfour
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July 07, 2012
Luek, you don't know if she was on welfare. Second, if all insurance and programs provided birth control to women, she might not have had another risky pregnancy. For your information, birth control pills cost $60.00 an month and up and the woman must first see a doctor for an exam - more money. So if you want "baby machines" to stop having babies, all you men can zip or pants up or you can see to it that women have access to birth control.
ammowatt
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July 07, 2012
Good point Give Me A Break. More people need to take action against Cobb and Smyrna. I wish her well.
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