Guest Commentary: Wellpath’s Flawed and Deadly Cost Containment Program, Part 2 – Fetuses in the Toilet, the Lauren Kent Story

By Malik Washington, Destination Freedom Media Group

TRIGGER WARNING: If you are a woman who has suffered from post-partum depression or experienced a traumatic high-risk pregnancy, please proceed with caution in reading this article.  This article contains graphic information and readers may find the description of events disturbing.

This is Part 2 of a multi-part series which sheds a discerning light on the for-profit jail health care company known as Wellpath, LLC (Wellpath).  Our journalism and investigation continues to focus on the flawed and deadly Cost Containment Program utilized and implemented by Wellpath employees.  It is relevant to mention that the jurisdictions which decide to contract with Wellpath agree to adopt their policies and procedures.  Through my research, I have discovered that there are U.S. District Court judges and lawyers throughout the United States who are unaware or who feign ignorance about Wellpath’s common practices.  Wellpath employees have established a common practice and policy whereby their employees typically neglect and mistreat incarcerated pregnant women.

This piece serves the purpose of public awareness and education to all groups and individuals who are supportive of women’s rights to receive quality reproductive health care in America.


THE LAUREN KENT STORY

Kent v. Collin County, Texas et al.

Case No. 4:21-CV-412-SDJ

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division

Sean D. Jordan, United States District Court Judge

On May 30, 2019, Lauren Kent was arrested and detained at the Collin County Jail in Texas.  At the time of her arrest, Lauren was approximately 3-1/2 months pregnant with twins.  At the jail’s intake screening, Lauren was interviewed by a Wellpath employee, Physician’s Assistant, Latori Abii (PA Abii).  PA Abii administered a pregnancy test which confirmed Lauren’s pregnancy.  During the interview, Lauren notified PA Abii that she was considered a “high risk” pregnancy patient.  PA Abii scheduled Lauren to see a doctor in 30 days.  Following Lauren’s initial appointment with PA Abii, she began experiencing abdominal pain and cramping and vaginal bleeding.  Lauren began to ask Collin County jail guards if she could be seen by a doctor, but no doctor came.  On June 22, 2019, Lauren sent the following message to Wellpath medical personnel working at Collin County Jail:  “There is a possibility that I am further along in my pregnancy.  I don’t know.  I havent once been to the doctor.  I’ve just been to the ER twice.  Before I was arrested I was finally approved for Medicade and had I doctors appointment lined up.  I am big enough to be 6 to 7 months pregnant.  I am hoping Im only 4 months.  I know for sure that I got two babies in me.  I feel I needed to let you know this…Im very worried about the health of my babies inside me.”

NOTE:  Inmates at Collin County Jail have access to a kiosk which allows them to send messages to medical staff and others.  One would think that after Wellpath employees received this message from Lauren, they would have expedited a doctor’s appointment for Lauren, but this was not the case.  Instead, Wellpath employees instructed Lauren to keep “a pad count” of bloody gauze pads from the vaginal bleeding she was experiencing.  Wellpath staff told Lauren:  “When you have something significant to show us inform the pod officer.”  Wellpath staff repeatedly told Lauren she must keep pads to prove she was bleeding enough to necessitate emergency medical care.  I am aware of the repulsive and shocking nature of Wellpath’s “medical instructions” to Lauren.  I believe it is absolutely necessary for the public at large to know exactly how this for-profit company treats pregnant women in their care.  There will be no change without full exposure.

By July 3, 2019, Lauren still had not seen a doctor.  She was bleeding heavily and Wellpath nurses, Atiba and McBride, virtually ignored Lauren’s pleas for emergency medical care.  Here is the exact verbatim message Lauren sent to Wellpath medical staff at Collin County Jail on July 3, 2019:  “I am pregnant with twins maybe 3 babies though.  I have been here for over a month.  I have been cramping more and more severely every day for a week.  Spotting more and more every day.  Today I am bleeding like I am on my period.  I am 4 and1/2 months.  I put in a sick call than went to the nurse here just now.  He (the nurse) didn’t take my vitals and wouldn’t even let me even finish my sentence.  He looked at one bloody tissue and told me to just throw it all away.  I had a red bag they gave me to collect bloody stuff so they could see.  The pad wearing now is full of blood and Im cramping very very bad.  Please I need to go to the doctor.  Please this isnt right.”

Twenty minutes later, Lauren added:  “Please I’m begging you.  I need a doctor.”

Ladies and gentlemen, do you hear (read) the desperation and the tone of this human being.  I implore you to continue reading and to not look away.

On July 4, 2019 after being at the Collin County Jail for 36 days, Lauren saw PA Abii.  PA Abii had the gall and audacity to tell Lauren that “if she was miscarrying there was no magic pill she could give her to stop the process or reverse it.”  Then PA Abii continued to instruct Lauren to keep a pad count of bloody pads!

On July 5, 2019 after being belittled, degraded, and ridiculed by both officers and nurses at the jail, the inevitable tragedy occurred.  At approximately 6:20 p.m., Lauren was observed sitting on the toilet and yelling that she thought she was going to have her baby.  While screaming and crying out in pain, Lauren delivered her baby while seated on the toilet.  The baby was dead.

U.S. District Judge, Sean D. Jordan had this to say:  “In this case, Lauren Kent plausibly alleged a direct causal link between the Cost Containment Program and the deprivation of her Constitutional right to adequate medical care.  Kent alleges that this policy of avoiding offsite medical care for inmates until the direst of situations arise, that is ‘a life or limb threatening illness’ denied her medical care she obviously needed and caused the avoidable death of her unborn child.  In other words, Kent alleges the Cost Containment Program is the reason why she could not seek hospital treatment allegedly would have prevented her miscarriage or at the saved the life of her unborn child.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I have reported the cold, hard facts regarding the Lauren Kent story.  It is now up to you to share this story via social media and pressure your state and federal representatives to eradicate and cease all contracts with Nashville, Tennessee-based jail and prison health care provider known as Wellpath.  We humbly request that you continue to follow our Wellpath series.  There is so much more to come.

Malik Washington is a freelance journalist and Director at Destination:  Freedom and Destination Freedom Media Group.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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