RANCHO CUCAMONGA (CBSLA.com) — The family of an Inland Empire inmate who died weeks after giving birth claims she might still be alive if she had received the medical attention she requested.
Angela Zuniga gave birth to Exodus while in jail and died nearly two weeks later. Her mother says she had an emergency hysterectomy right after she delivered the baby through a C-section.
After going back to the West Valley Detention Center several days later, her family says she started telling jail staff she didn’t feel well.
“They would tell her that she complains too much,” Sandra Lugo, her mother, said. “They wouldn’t see her and they would just say, ‘Oh, you’re OK.’ ”
Despite her fresh incisions, Angela told her sister jail staff wanted her to do physical labor along with other inmates.
“When she told them she was in too much pain, you know, she was cut sideways and upward and she was in too much pain to do the tasks, so staff punished her and put her in the hole for that,” said Sonia Zuniga, Angela’s sister.
On Feb. 27, Angela’s family said she collapsed. She was then taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center where she died.
A San Bernardino County jail spokesperson would only say she suffered a medical emergency and her death was being investigated as the coroner conducts an autopsy.
In the meantime, her family says not enough was done to keep her healthy.
“Maybe three or four inmates have reached out and said, ‘We have information. They neglected her. She asked for help,’ ” her sister said.
The 33-year-old was a felon and currently in jail on a weapons charges. Despite that, her family says she deserved better.
“Before she was an inmate, she was a human being. She was my sister,” she said.
The incident comes on the heels of a separate class-action lawsuit filed just last month by an advocacy group that claims the jail doesn’t provide inmates with adequate medical care.