Former Inmate Sues Over Baby's Death in Florida

By: AP
By: AP

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) --

A former Collier County jail inmate whose baby died while she was behind bars is suing the jail's medical provider and the sheriff.

Joan Laurel Small, now known as Joan Graeber, says her civil
rights were violated because she was denied necessary medical
treatment. The 24-year-old says officials ignored her complaints
that she was leaking fluid for almost two weeks. Graeber's doctor
told her the infant's skull collapsed because Graeber had no
amniotic fluid.

The lawsuit against Tennesee-based Prison Health Services and
Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk was filed this month.
Graeber's baby died in February 2009. She now lives in New Jersey.

Prison Health Services declined comment on the lawsuit but
previously said Graeber saw medical staff about 190 times in 128

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  • by Bruce Millar Location: Georgia on Nov 17, 2010 at 02:58 PM
    I happen to be one of those "horrible" lawers who have brought cases against law enforcement and jails. In 18 years have represented over 100 people who have been arrested due to mistaken identity, and I have represented at least a dozen people who have suffered serious injury or death as a result of not receiving medical care in jail. I can tell you, these cases are money losers. I do them because as a result of my work, I have been able force a number of law enforcement agencies to change their ways. If you have a driver's license, YOU could be mistaken for someone else due to a paperwork error, such as a communication officer accidently putting the wrong date of birth on a warrant. This happens over and over. For those who think she did not "deserve" proper care, do you want to be part of a system where no one is held accountable because we simply assume that people in jail are unworthy of humane treatment?
  • by craig Location: tallahassee on Nov 17, 2010 at 10:40 AM
    This should be a wakeup call for all those who think that our jails and prisons are swanky hotels. People are abused and treated like animals inside by the indifferent sociopaths they hire as guards, nurses, etc.
  • by annoyed Location: annoyed city on Nov 16, 2010 at 09:37 PM
    Look you people are quick to judge, which is very shameful of you all that were negative. She may have fled a warrant because she was trying to get herself together before going to jail. You do not know her story. You can look up all the records you want. Controlled Substance can mean a lot of things. Like someone else's car and the cop found a bottle of unidentified pills. Perhaps she could not go to the Doctor at all and these pills not prescribed were in fact to maybe help her in her pregnancy. The fact is people who are calling her a lowlife,scum. You wait, one day something weird or unbelievable is going to happen to you or someone you know and your eyes will open and you will see that the justice system, the police and misunderstandings between them all can lead to jail time. The point is the article states she has a different last name (married). How do you know it is her way to get over this by making the system better. Not pocketing a dime in the process... HAVE A HEART
  • by mizT Location: P'cola, Florida on Nov 16, 2010 at 11:10 AM
    Posted by: Margaret on Nov 16, 2010 at 10:04 AM ""They should have done what was best for the BABY, regardless of their attitude pro/con the mother."" ~AGREED! OMG! This is horrific! My heart aches for that precious innocent child. Death by having your skull slowly crushed? A small strip of paper could have saved this baby's life. Nitrazine test paper. It test if amniotic fluid is present. (pH) IMHO, every facility that houses women should havekeep this. Doesn't cost much either! hmpf! Think! Think about it! A small strip of paper could have saved the LIFE of this baby. This tiny little angel. ~ God help us!
  • by Margaret on Nov 16, 2010 at 07:04 AM
    They should have done what was best for the BABY, regardless of their attitude pro/con the mother.
  • by HMA on Nov 16, 2010 at 06:49 AM
    Some excellent examples of the "Victim" mentality here. This is one of the reasons most women don't do things that will put them in jail. This is not the first time a woman in jail had complications with her pregnancy that lead to the childs death and won't be the last. This one just found a lawyer with an angle for milking the taxpayers and made the news. Jail, drugs, pregnant, not married; she would have made a wonderful mother.
  • by Concerned Location: Tallahassee, FL on Nov 16, 2010 at 06:13 AM
    @Rita RN: How in the world do you know if she was using drugs? It said nothing about that in the article! She wasn't in a prison, she was in a county Jail, huge difference!!! Just because she saw them 190 times, does not mean that she was given care or received treatment. This is so sad. We do not know exactly why she was in there, but it shouldn't have been at the expense of her baby.
  • by Rita RN on Nov 16, 2010 at 12:29 AM
    Sounds like she wasn't worried about the drugs she was abusing harming her unborn child. Shameful-I work in a prison and by no means are these people treated unfair. They arent in there for making bad grades. They are criminals!!! I'm starting to think you are a former inmate. You got the wrong one if you think I'm gonna hug a thug!
  • by Wendy Location: Tallahassee on Nov 15, 2010 at 07:31 PM
    Does anyone remember innocent until proven guilty. She was only charged not convicted. For all those out there that are labeling her so harshly might want to take an extra minute to think about what call people. By the way records can be filled out by anyone that doesn't prove she actually received care. That baby didn't commit any crime and yet it was tried, covicted, and sentanced to death because jail doctors didn't do their job. I feel for her and her unborn child. No one has the right to declare her as unfit to be a mother unless you know her personnally and can say that with proof to back it up. My stepdaughter has had 4 miscarraiges. It's a bad thing to watch someone go through and she had medical treatment. Show her simpathy not put her down even more. I guess to many are to quick to pass judgement on someone they don't even know. Think about that people.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 15, 2010 at 03:26 PM
    The lawsuit is that she was somehow denied medical care that would have saved the baby. How can this be if she saw medical staff 190 times. There has to be medical records, and those would have to be looked at to see if she did, in fact, receive or request care. All the stuff about the "poor little baby" just clouds the facts, and makes it hard to find an unbiased jury. Some people don't see anything other that the baby, and that is the reason we have so many bad law suits.
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