A Dickinson resident, Josi Justice, has filed a lawsuit against the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center and its head nurse, Janie Mueller, for negligence and medical malpractice after Justice’s 2017 childbirth in a holding cell in Dickinson.
According to the complaint filed by Justice and her attorney, Nicholas H. Nelson, she was approximately 37 weeks into pregnancy when she was admitted to the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center on May 19, 2017, because of a violation of North Dakota’s 24/7 Sobriety Program.
On June 1, 2017, Justice was taken to Sanford Health West Dickinson Clinic, where an obstetrician/gynecologist determined that she “must undergo a cesarean section rather than vaginal delivery. On or around the same date, Sanford Health informed SWMCCC Nurse, Janie Mueller, that (the Plaintiff, Justice) must have a cesarean section rather than vaginal delivery.”
Two days later, on June 3, 2017, at approximately 3:30 p.m., while at the jail, Justice’s amniotic sac ruptured, signifying that she had already begun childbirth labor.
According to the plaintiff’s official complaint, “despite numerous pleas for help and requests to be brought to a health care facility, Nurse Mueller and any other health care professional failed to arrive to care for Ms. Justice, nor was Ms. Justice brought to a medical facility for delivery of (her) baby boy.”
It wasn’t until 10 p.m., after Justice had delivered her baby, that emergency medical technicians arrived. Shortly thereafter, Justice was taken to Sanford Health.
In a court document responding to these allegations, while she admits that a doctor had advised her that Justice was scheduled for a cesarean section on June 9, 2017, Mueller denies that she was informed “that Justice must undergo a cesarean section rather than vaginal delivery.”
Mueller also denies ever being notified about the rupture of Justice’s amniotic sac.
Justice’s attorney claims that the jail and Mueller breached “a duty of care” agreement that was created when the plaintiff entered the facility. This transgression caused “Ms. Justice to experience unwanted and preventable physical and emotional pain and suffering and extended hospital time for Ms. Justice’s newborn baby.”
With the case set to go to trial in September 2020, the defendants deny all allegations of neglect and medical practice.
In addition, the defendants allege that if the plaintiff did suffer any loss, injury, or damage, it is because of “circumstances over which they had no control.”