Woman acting as midwife arrested after baby dies

By  | 

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- A woman who advertises herself as a midwife is facing felony charges after a baby died following an attempted home delivery in North Omaha.

Angela Hock was booked into Douglas Jail early Wednesday. She faces charges of negligent child abuse resulting in death, a Class 2A felony, after an infant she attempted to help deliver died June 17.

The Douglas County Attorney's Office said Hock turned herself in and is expected to appear in court Friday.

RELATED: Infant's death prompts grandmother to call for changes in midwife laws

At about 9:15 p.m. June 15, Omaha Fire Department paramedics were called to a residence near 48th and Spaulding streets after a 25-year-old woman at full term in her pregnancy was in distress following complications during a breech birth at home, according to an Omaha Police report.

The woman told an Omaha Police detective that she went into labor at about 9 p.m. June 14, and that Hock reportedly arrived to help with the birth at 6 p.m. June 15, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Douglas County Court. After realizing the baby's foot had been delivered, the mother told detectives that Hock asked her whether to continue with the birth at home "and stated she had trained in delivering breech babies," court documents state.

The mother agreed to continue at home, but said that after at least 30 minutes, the baby had only been delivered up to the shoulders, the documents state. That's when Hock advised calling 9-1-1.

When police arrived at the home, they found Hock assisting the pregnant woman and asking for medical scissors, police and court documents state. Paramedics said the baby was partially delivered at that time and that Hock performed a medical procedure during her attempt to deliver the baby, the court documents state.

The baby, delivered by paramedics while en route to a hospital, was limp and unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint. Resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful, and the baby was taken to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit upon arrival at the hospital and placed on life support, the documents state.

The obstetrics doctor in the ER that night reported to police that the baby was deprived of oxygen and suffered swelling in the brain, and indicated the infant could die as result of the injuries, the court documents state.

The doctor told officers Hock had revealed she was at the scene serving as a midwife, a service she advertises through her company's website, Nebraska Birth Keepers, and "had known for a couple hours that the baby was in breech" position but continued with the birthing process for an hour before 9-1-1 was called, the documents state.

The baby was pronounced dead on June 17.

A warrant was issued for Hock's arrest when it was determined by Nebraska Health and Human Services that she does not hold a medical or certified nurse-midwife license.

The mother told OPD investigators that she had signed an agreement for Hock's midwife services and that she and her husband had paid Hock about $3,000-$4,000 for those services, the court documents state.

A doula was also present at the home birth and called 9-1-1 when Hock instructed her to, court documents state. She told investigators she saw Hock perform the medical procedure but did not perform any herself She said she had only assisted the mother with "breathing and movement" and that she is not paid for her services.

The doula also told investigators that Hock had talked in prior conversations about the breech delivery training she had attended, the documents state.

Joann Floyd, grandmother of the deceased infant, spoke with 6 News today.

"I am absolutely outraged," she said. "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.”