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Woman who gave birth in jail sues King County

12:08 PM PDT on Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Associated Press

SEATTLE - A mentally troubled woman who gave birth in a jail cell nearly 10 years ago has filed a lawsuit accusing King County of negligence and failing to provide proper medical care or staff training.

According to her lawsuit for unspecified damages, filed last week in King County Superior Court, Imka Pope, 36, told guards she was going into labor but did not receive medical attention until after the child was born.

Pope was arrested for trespassing, but the charge was dropped after she was found mentally incompetent to stand trial, said her attorney in the lawsuit.

The statute of limitations for filing the lawsuit would normally have been three years, but her mental illness was such that she was unable to recognize that she had been wronged, her attorney, Christopher R. Carney, said. Her condition has improved recently with counseling, he said.

"She has a constitutional right to have adequate medical care given to her while in custody," Carney said. "I don't see how it could be much clearer that she didn't get that."

Defendants include the county; Reed Holtgeerts, county director of detention; his predecessor, Arthur Wallenstein, now a corrections official in Maryland; and 14 other jail staff members.

A county corrections spokesman said that he had not seen a copy of the suit and could not comment on pending litigation.

Arrested for sleeping in a transit bus shelter, Pope was incoherent, didn't know her name, talked to herself and wouldn't leave her cell when she was booked into jail on Nov. 15, 1997, as "Lisa Enigma," Carney wrote in the lawsuit.

Six days later, according to the lawsuit, she told guards she was pregnant and going into labor but was given medical attention only after staff heard the cries of her newborn son in her cell.

Two Letters

Jun. 1st, 2007 06:24 pm
ladibug21: (Default)
Dear friend and coworker,

I know you have some esteem issues. You do not like your body. You feel friendless, lonely, and alone at times lately. Even through your extreme depression I can see that you are an amazing person with a great deal to offer the world. You are not ugly even though you think you are, you are very funny, and you are whip smart. However, there are days when your esteem issues cause you to lash out at those around you. Namely me. I realize that you are very serious about weight loss and getting in shape and strive to be a size four by summer's end. I congratulate you on your efforts. But I wish you wouldn't compare me to you. I know that our bodies are very similar in size, but I do not have the aspirations to be a size four. I spent many years hating my body and cursing my round hips and bottom. I got over it. I love my body, my booty, my hips, my pale skin, my blonde hair. I have big, strong, muscles. I can swim and bike better than most lay people. I am not weak. I had to work hard to love myself first and then I realized I came in a nice package too. I don't want to be a four and it's really not a realistic aspiration when you've been a 10 or bigger since you were 12. Please stop commenting on what I'm eating and calculating how long it has been since I've been to the gym. Leave your judgments to yourself.

Dear Doctor,

I know that by working with cancer patients you are a very important person, but did you know that you're no more important than anyone else? Yep, that's right. I'm just as important as you, so is the homeless guy that shits in our bathroom, and the lady that made your sandwich at lunch today, and the women that clean our office. It's shocking huh? Just because you went through medical school DOESN'T MAKE YOU GOD. Nor does it give you the right to speak to me so condescendingly, so rudly, so brashly to me in front of three other people.

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