- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Pulaski County jail will soon open an on-site prenatal clinic to treat pregnant inmates, months after it agreed to a $179,500 lawsuit with inmates who’d sued over the care they received at the facility.

The clinic will include video equipment, a fetal heart-rate monitor and an ultrasound machine. A nurse from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will visit weekly, and inmates can also receive care via video link through the hospital’s Center for Distance Health. The clinic is expected to open by the end of the year.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Friday (https://bit.ly/1Pge4RH ) that the new clinic comes after seven women sued Sheriff Doc Holladay and others over the care they received at the jail. According to the suit, a woman’s son died in September 2012 after she was denied prenatal care. She received $100,000 in the settlement.

The lawsuit also alleged that because of the jail’s practices, one woman gave birth to her child inside an ambulance and several others miscarried.

“As we were looking at these cases as they happened, we began to ask ourselves: ‘What do we need to do better?’” Holladay said.

“We look at every death that occurs in the facility and say: ‘What could we have done differently?’ Whether it’s a pregnancy or a suicide. Fortunately, we don’t have a lot (of deaths), but anytime you have one you wonder if we should have done something differently.”

As of this week, the jail had four pregnant inmates, Holladay said.

Tina Benton, the oversight director for UAMS’ Center for Distance Health, said the aim of the program is “to provide really good care.”

“That’s what we are about,” she said. “I don’t care if you’re a millionaire or a prisoner. You’re a human being, and we’re going to take really good care of you.”

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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