Inmate's claim she nearly died after miscarriage disputed

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Michigan Department of Corrections officials deny claims by an inmate at the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti who said she almost died last week after a miscarriage at the prison.

Sherrie Medlock said she waited more than two hours before a doctor saw her and ordered an ambulance because she was bleeding excessively after miscarrying, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“I thought I was going to die,” Medlock told the newspaper.

She said she was taken to a hospital in Ann Arbor and returned to the prison the same day.

However, corrections department officials dispute her claims that she waited more than two hours before the prison's medical staff rendered aid.

Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz said staff was notified of an inmate who was in the restroom and needed assistance at 7:37 a.m. last week Thursday.

He said housing unit staff immediately contacted medical staff about the inmate.

A nurse responded, assessed the inmate's condition and took her to the clinic near the housing unit, according to Gautz. The nurse then had the inmate transported to the facility's main clinic where she was seen by a doctor.

The prison's doctor determined the inmate needed to be sent to a nearby hospital for further care and she was transported there in an ambulance.

Gautz said the inmate was returned to the prison in the afternoon. She had access to mental health care services following the experience, he added.

Medlock first arrived at Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility on Sept. 11, Gautz said. She is in prison for a parole violation.

He also said the prison's medical staff had seen the inmate previously for a suspected miscarriage and her care was being managed by the onsite OB-GYN.

At any rate, the prison's staff is reviewing Medlock's claims and working to determine what exactly happened, Gautz said.

Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility

Medlock, 39, had been on parole for a conviction on an assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder charge in Oakland County. The offense occurred June 2011 in Pontiac, and she was sentenced the following November to 3-10 years in prison.

Nicolas Camargo, the Southfield attorney who defended Medlock in the case, said Wednesday he couldn't recall much about the matter and probably couldn't divulge much about it if he did. He said he practiced criminal defense law in 2011 but moved into probate law years ago. 

Medlock also has a previous conviction for 2004 drug possession and spent a year in prison until she was released in 2006.

The Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility is the only prison in Michigan that houses women. It houses more than 2,000 women.

Gautz noted "prisoners who are pregnant when they arrive at the facility are routinely seen by medical staff and provided care to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery."

He said most inmates who arrive at the facility pregnant deliver their babies. This year, 35 prisoners arrived at Women's Huron Valley pregnant. Four of the inmates miscarried and one prisoner was paroled while she was pregnant.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez