Dead baby’s mother tried to get pregnant

Thu, Dec 10, 2009 (2:18 p.m.)

The tragedy surrounding the birth of Roshunda Abney’s baby raises so many distressing yet obvious questions. How did University Medical Center emergency room personnel ignore a patient’s wails? Was it just another day in the ER? Did the fact that Abney lacked insurance affect where she fit into the patient hierarchy? Or was Abney’s case an aberration, not representative of the public hospital, and the woman simply the tragic victim of a callous staffer?

Answers to those and other questions on tonight’s program from attorney Jacob Hafter, who represents Abney. Hafter says he’s heard from many who endured similar treatment at area emergency rooms. News accounts of the episode are followed by comments from Southern Nevadans with their own horror stories, some stunningly similar, like the woman who says she was four months pregnant and ending up delivering in the hospital’s bathroom after waiting to be seen in the ER.

What caught my attention about this story is the public’s reaction – from the saintly folk waiting with their own emergencies who begged for Abney to be seen first to the other end of the spectrum – the vicious, often racist comments appearing on newspaper and television websites.

We invited UMC to appear but the hospital declined, given the inevitable litigation. We also invited all the county commissioners but nary a taker.

On tonight’s program the uncle of Abney’s fiancé says the young couple was trying to have a baby and took exception to speculation that Abney must have known she was pregnant. As someone who has suffered through four labors, it’s impossible to believe that the woman knew what ailed her and refused to speak up. If so, Roshunda Abney has a future training potential torture subjects.

On tomorrow’s show: Prosecuting Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki for allegedly mismanaging state funds was once important to Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. But now that she’d have to take on a judge’s actions, Masto says she’s taking a pass. Did voters elect Masto to shrug off the tough stuff? And does she stand behind her initial allegations? Jon finds out tomorrow.

A programming note: We had planned to bring you an interview today with legendary entertainer Bob Bailey, just in time for his book signing on Saturday at the Luxor, 2 to 4 p.m. in the Aurora Lounge. Had to move that program to Monday, so check out Bailey in person Saturday.

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