Taylor E. Hogan, 24, is seeking an excess of $10,000 in damages from WellStar, a physician assistant who is employed there, David Nguyen, and the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, alleging that they violated her civil rights under the fifth, eighth and 14th amendments and medical malpractice.
The county is being represented by attorney Deborah Dance, who spokesman Robert Quigley said would not be able to comment on the case because of the pending litigation; and WellStar is being represented by attorney Lance Lorusso, who spokesman Keith Bowermaster said also would not be commenting on the suit.
According to Hogan’s warrant, she was arrested when police responded to an incident in the 2900 block of South Cobb Drive in Smyrna and discovered a stolen firearm taken from someone in Athens-Clarke County underneath her couch.
According to jail records, Hogan was arrested on Aug. 3, 2010, on charges of felony theft by receiving a firearm and misdemeanor violation of probation. She was incarcerated until Sept. 10, 2010.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of Georgia on April 24, states that while being booked into the jail, Hogan told the jail nurse that she was 23 weeks pregnant and said she was given a pregnancy test to verify that information and then put on “prenatal care.”
At about 6 p.m. on Aug. 9, Hogan started having cramps and advised Deputy Sheriff Lynda Stoker, who, according to the lawsuit, did nothing but told her to lie down.
Hogan continued complaining about the cramps and pain and was taken to the infirmary sometime around 11 p.m. after she was “left in a hallway” throwing up and crying.
“At around 12:55 a.m., Ms. Hogan delivered her baby prematurely and without assistance in the bathroom causing the baby to fall on the concrete floor head first,” the suit states. “The jail medical staff simply placed Baby Hopkins on top of his mother without even severing the umbilical cord and called an ambulance leaving the baby gasping for air with no assistance.”
The suit says Hogan and the baby boy, who she later named Savante Hopkins Jr., were taken to WellStar Cobb Hospital in Austell within an hour of the delivery. Doctors told Hogan then that her baby would not survive and let the baby stay with her in the hospital room until he died around 9:55 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2010.
The suit states that the Cobb County Jail staff violated Hogan’s eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by not providing any treatment to her during her labor or following the birth of her son.
“Defendants were aware that Ms. Hogan’s condition was deteriorating, yet nothing was done to treat her,” the suit states. “As Baby Hogan lay on his mother’s lap struggling for breath, Defendants did absolutely nothing to assist Baby Hopkins, even to the point of failing to cut the umbilical cord.”
Hogan is suing WellStar and “its employees” for negligence for failing to follow 14 steps related to her delivery, including failure to check to see if she was dilated, providing medication to stop her labor, properly responding to an inmate who is in labor and properly training employees on delivering babies or performing CPR on infants.
She is also suing WellStar, Nguyen and Cobb County for the wrongful acts, pain and suffering, inadequate training and supervision attorney’s fees and lastly punitive damages.
Hogan’s attorney, Jon Sexton of Sexton Law Firm in Stockbridge, said the case is not set to go to trial for at least six months.
“We have six months discovery where we’ll be asking questions, each side back and forth,” he said. “It’ll be some time after that.”
Sexton said they have also learned that the Cobb County Board of Health was to provide nurses for the county jail so they are anticipating adding them to the lawsuit.
Sexton said Hogan contacted his firm about a year ago but she is going public with her story nearly two years later because she wants to make sure women get the assistance she should have if they are pregnant and are in jail.
“She wants to make sure (the jail) changes their policies and procedures where if somebody is in labor, they call a doctor and the hospital,” Sexton said. “She also wants money remuneration … sometimes that’s the only way you can get people’s attention.”
Hogan still lives in Smyrna and is now the mother of a 1-year-old who was born at 25 weeks.
“What’s interesting is that she actually went into labor early with this child as well but was given medication to stop her labor and he is doing fine now,” Sexton said.