Woman Faces Prison For Acting As Midwife During Delivery That Led To Baby's Death

Angela Hock, a Nebraska woman who posed as a midwife, faces felony charges after the baby she attempted to deliver died. Her trial is expected to take place next summer. Hock, 36, is charged with negligent child abuse resulting in death, a Class 2A felony, after the baby suffered fatal brain injuries during delivery in the family's home on June 17. She faces up to 20 years in prison.

At 9:15 pm on June 15, Omaha Fire Department paramedics were called to a home near 48th and Spaulding streets after a 25-year-old pregnant woman was in distress following complications during a breech birth, according to an Omaha Police report. The woman, who was at full term, told an Omaha Police detective that she went into labor at around 9 pm the day before and that Hock arrived to help with the birth at 6 pm the following day, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Douglas County Court.

After noting that the baby's foot had been delivered, the mother told detectives that Hock asked her if she would prefer to continue with the birth at home and assured her " she had trained in delivering breech babies," court documents state. The mother agreed to the home delivery, but Hock then called 911. The baby, who was delivered by paramedics on the way to the hospital, was unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint. After resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful, the baby was put on life support upon arrival at the hospital, the documents state.

The baby, named Vera by her parents, Emily and Crayton Noe, removed her from life support and she died shortly after. Nebraska law requires midwives to be certified by the state. They must also be under the supervision of a licensed medical practitioner in a health care facility or in an authorized setting. They are not permitted to deliver babies at home.

The on-duty obstetrics doctor in the emergency room reported that the baby had been deprived of oxygen and suffered swelling in the brain, which could potentially result in death, the court documents state. A warrant was issued for Hock's arrest after Nebraska Health and Human Services determined that she neither holds a medical nor a certified nurse-midwife license.

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Stuart J. Dornan, a lawyer for Hock, 36, said in an interview 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, which both he and prosecutors said was seldom brought against midwives.

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