Unlicensed Nebraska midwife arrested in newborn’s death after home delivery

A Nebraska woman who advertised herself as a midwife specializing in home births — but who prosecutors said did not have the proper certification — is facing a homicide charge after the troubled delivery of a newborn resulted in the baby’s death.

Angela Hock, who turned herself in to the police Tuesday in the June 17 death of the 2-day-old girl, appeared in Douglas County Court in Omaha on Friday, and was expected to be released on a $25,000 bond.

Stuart J. Dornan, a lawyer for Hock, 36, said in an interview Friday night that his client planned to plead not guilty to the charge of negligent child abuse resulting in the death of the baby. The felony charge, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Despite not having a certification to practice as a midwife, prosecutors said, Hock had tried to perform a breeched birth, when there is an elevated risk to a baby because its feet and buttocks, not head, are first to exit the birth canal.

The baby suffered swelling of the brain from a 10-minute loss of oxygen, and was unresponsive during the partial delivery, according to a criminal complaint, which said paramedics had tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the infant when she was delivered June 15. The baby, named Vera by her parents, died two days later after her parents, Emily and Crayton Noe, removed her from life support.

Nebraska law requires nurse midwives to be certified by the state — and they must be under the supervision of a licensed medical practitioner in a health care facility or in an authorized setting. They are prohibited from delivering babies at home.

Brenda Beadle, the chief deputy county attorney, said she was not immediately prepared to comment Friday night.

The baby’s parents declined to comment.

“I am absolutely outraged,” Joann Floyd, the infant’s grandmother, told WOWT, the Omaha NBC affiliate. “I have a beautiful granddaughter that we just buried at Omaha National Cemetery in a tiny little casket; and my heart is broken, and my daughter’s heart is broken, and my son-in-law’s heart is broken, and we’re all heartbroken. This is a beautiful baby.”

New York Times

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