Major health risks for woman who delivered baby on cell floor at Macomb County Jail

Jessica Preston delivered son, Elijha, on floor of jail cell

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – There were several major health risks for Jessica Preston when she delivered her baby boy on the filthy floor of the Macomb County Jail.

Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz spoke with Dr. Frank McGeorge, a qualified court expert on in-custody jail medical cases, talked about what could have gone wrong for Preston and her baby.

Video showed Preston telling medical staff members three times that she was having her baby, but they didn't believe her and refused to take her to a hospital. Each time, she was sent back to her jail cell, so baby Elijha was born on the floor.

"When you have a woman who's eight months pregnant, with regular contractions, who's sweating, there are red flags going up all over the place," McGeorge said. "You need to take the seriously."

The medical staff never called an ambulance, so Elijha was born on a dirty mat on a jail cell floor.

"Having a baby in a dirty, nasty place is just not a good thing, because it opens the risk to infections, whether it's the baby, or it's the mother," McGeorge said.

Elijha was born a month early, weighing less than five pounds.

"When a baby is born very small, there's always the risk that there could be some difficult breathing, maybe the baby has some kind of congenital problem, and that's why they're small," McGeorge said. "We don't know."

McGeorge said if Preston had been taken to the hospital, the birth could have been slowed down or stopped.

"Having a baby in a jail, I think, is just scary to any woman," McGeorge said. "(It) just doesn't make sense because there's really no reason for it to have happened that way."

Sheriff Anthony Wickersham told the Associated Press on Tuesday that his jail staff was 100 percent correct in how they handled the case.

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About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.