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Woman settles lawsuits with two hospitals

A woman who sued two hospitals in federal court for refusing to treat her while she was in labor has now settled with both of them.

On Monday, Roshunda Abney, who gave birth at home in 2009 to a girl who died a short time later, agreed to a confidential settlement with Valley Hospital Medical Center, where she went after being refused care at University Medical Center.

Earlier this month, UMC, where Abney sought treatment Nov. 30, 2009, agreed to pay $225,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Abney.

Before opening statements before Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt, Valley Hospital attorney Kenneth Webster and Abney’s lawyer, Jacob Hafter, negotiated an agreement and later issued a statement saying that "the case has been settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties."

Neither attorney would go beyond the statement, and Abney was unavailable for comment.

Abney, who told the Review-Journal a day after she delivered the baby that she did not know she was pregnant, said she arrived at UMC and waited about six hours without being treated despite her repeated complaints about abdominal pain.

She said she and her fiance, Raffinee Dewberry, the baby’s father, then went to nearby Valley Hospital, where Abney said staff suggested they could face a similar wait.

Thinking they would not be helped, they left Valley and bought over-the-counter pain medication for Abney. Within 20 minutes of arriving home on Dec. 1, 2009, she gave birth.

Hafter argued in court filings that the hospitals violated the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act and failed to screen Abney properly.

Contact reporter Paul Harasim at pharasim@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2908.

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