Pregnant CO says she wasn’t allowed to leave work; then her baby died, suit says

The CO felt contraction-like pains at work, but her supervisor kept her at her post for hours despite her requests to leave, according to the lawsuit

By Brendan Rascius
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

ABILENE, Texas — After clocking into work at a Texas prison on a November night, Salia Issa began feeling contraction-like pains.

Issa, a corrections officer, was seven months pregnant.

Rather than rush her to a hospital, her supervisor kept her at her post for hours despite her repeated requests to leave, according to a lawsuit filed against Abilene prison officials and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

“You’re just lying,” her supervisor is accused of telling her over the phone, according to the lawsuit.

Issa said she called him several times, pleading to leave. And each time she was told to stay put, the lawsuit says.

Issa said she was finally given permission to leave two-and-a-half hours later. In intense pain, she made her way to her car and drove to a local medical center, the lawsuit says.

Once there, she was wheeled into an exam room, where she began bleeding.

Hospital staff searched for her baby’s heartbeat but could not find one, she said, according to the lawsuit. She was hurried into surgery, and despite attempts to save the child, it was delivered stillborn.

Hospital staff told Issa, according to the lawsuit, “if she had arrived sooner, they could have saved the child.”

Now, Issa, in her lawsuit, is arguing the state caused the death of her child, who had been healthy and without complication before being born stillborn, she said. She is requesting an unspecified amount of money to cover medical costs, mental anguish and other reported damages.

In a preliminary ruling this month, a U.S. Magistrate Judge recommended letting the case, which was initially filed in October, go forward, according to the Texas Tribune.

Texas outlawed abortion after six weeks of pregnancy in 2021, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Protecting the lives of unborn children” is a “major priority,” according to a 2018 news release from Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Neither Paxton’s spokesperson nor an attorney for Issa immediately responded to a request for comment from McClatchy News.

Abilene is about 200 miles southwest of Dallas.

©2023 Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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