County sought dismissal of brain-damaged child's case under Roe v. Wade
Chelsie Barker is a 10-year old who walks with a walker, cannot write her name and requires 24-hour care. Her guardian claims that she suffered brain damage when her mother, a Wayne County jail inmate, was deprived of adequate care during her delivery. The Jail and guards sought dismissal of Chelsie's claims, arguing that under Roe v. Wade, she was not a "person" entitled to constitutional protection.
U. S. District Judge Stephen Murphy denied the officers' motion for summary disposition, finding that the jail and officers owed a duty to provide care to Chelsie. He held that the allegations of Chelsie's guardian raised a factual question with regard to whether the officers were "deliberately indifferent" to Chelsie's well-being.
The lawsuit alleges that custodians refused to respond to Chelsie's mother's impending delivery, despite inmates' attempts to alert them. When paramedics were finally called, Chelsie had crowned and her head was emerging, however, she was not breathing. EMTs did not have the equipment to resuscitate her, and she suffered hypoxic brain injury prior to her arrival at the hospital.