Inmate alleges poor medical treatment at Tulsa County jail

Monday, July 1st 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A pregnant inmate in Tulsa's County jail says she's not getting proper medical treatment. She says jail staff ignored her requests for help until this weekend, when her attorney called and complained.

As News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains, the jail denies there’s a problem. Mary Fear is expecting her fifth child in five years and is facing a two-year prison term for drugs. That's why she decided to put this child up for adoption.

She's been in and out of Tulsa's County jail throughout this pregnancy and says when she told the head of her pod, she needed to go to medical, and they were unresponsive. "They told her to tell me to lay down on my bed. The other nurse said to walk around the pod to see if I'd go into labor."

Cheryl Bauman works with Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, a non-profit group that offers medical support, parenting classes and adoptions. She's coordinating the adoption and has been frustrated by what she believes has been the jail's lack of response. "I heard her tell the C.O. of her pod that she needed to get to medical and no one seemed to pay any attention to her at all."

Bauman says Mary called her over the weekend and feared her water was leaking and couldn't get medical attention. Bauman says the agency's attorney spent considerable effort on Saturday convincing medical personnel to see Mary. "My attorney did tell medical we would private pay, but they said they had an agreement with TRMC and didn't want to get involved in all that."

Jail records show Mary was taken to medical on Saturday afternoon and showed no sign of pregnancy distress. Following our calls on Monday, she received another exam and a shot she'd requested some time ago. However, the jail says the shot had already been ordered for her and couldn't be given at first, because Mary got released and was finally given after she was re-booked, after blood test results came back.

CCA spokesman Chris Howard, "I'd say the inmate, Mary has received appropriate medical care and the doctors and nurses have seen her and treated her." Records show Fear was given pre-natal vitamins and a special pregnancy diet the day she was booked into jail and that she was also treated for a toothache.

Mary Fear is expected to give birth in prison in August. The same couple adopting this child has also offered to adopt her other four sons, ages, 1, 2, 3 and 4.