Homeless couple in Clinton County loses child due to alleged lack of medical care

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By Cydni Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

On Feb. 24, DeWitt Township Police and Mercy Ambulance were called to the Town and Country Motel, 16262 U.S. Route 27, at 4:52 a.m., said police officials.

When Officer Kyle Kolka arrived to the scene he noticed a naked 45-year-old woman lying on her left side on top of a large amount of blood. Allegedly next to the woman was a male infant that was still attached to an umbilical cord and appeared listless, he said.

Kolka attempted to clear the child’s airway and begin CPR. In the midst of trying to help the child the ambulance arrived and he ran the child out to the truck where they prepped the child to be taken to Sparrow Hospital ER, he said.

The father of the child allegedly said that he believed his partner would be full-term that week but didn’t know of any due date. He believed that all was going well until his partner started to deliver the child’s feet first and then following the head and arms after two to three contraction cycles, Kolka said.

Once the child was delivered, the father says he allegedly picked up the infant and held him and then noticed that the infant was not breathing and then began to call 911.

The child was pronounced deceased at the hospital, says Kolka.

The investigation was sent to the county Prosecutor’s Office as well as forwarded to Child Protective Services for review but no charges have been filed yet and it seems like there will not be, said DeWitt Police Chief Brian Russell.

According to the police report the couple allegedly had no type of medical care for the child during the pregnancy.

“This is a tragedy that an ambulance wasn’t called sooner, given the facts that the baby was coming out feet first, the child’s life may have been saved with proper medical treatment,” said Russell.

It was stated by the couple that their family including two children aged 3 and 9 were allegedly homeless in Oregon and moved to Mississippi during the pregnancy, the report said.

They had allegedly just received some money to travel to Michigan, the two said.

Their second child was allegedly born without any medical care at another motel and they believed they could do the same with their third child, the report said.

“For a child to grow up healthy and confident medical care is essential,” John Lozier, executive director of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council in Nashville, Tennessee.

It is critical to future development. There are things as simple as routine immunizations, that prevent serious problems from emerging in later life, says Lozier.

Although healthcare is very important for all to have, when it comes to individuals in situations such as these, it is harder to obtain the care.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Health Insurance Estimates (SAHIE),in 2013 there were estimated to be 6,412 citizens in Clinton County without health care, Mid-Michigan District Health Department Public Officer Leslie Kinnee said.

“At heart it’s about them not being able to afford it,” said Lozier.

Lozier says that most times people are too poor to buy insurance on the private market or pay for health care services directly.

Steps that can be taken for individuals to get some type of care are: applying for Obama Care, going to community health centers and health departments, safety net providers such as public hospitals or healthcare for the homeless projects.

Lozier says that he hopes people will go and try to take advantage of the resources before they or family members become so ill that they end up needing care in the emergency room at the hospital.

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