A judge on Friday ordered an unlicensed midwife charged with negligent child abuse resulting in death to be held on $25,000 bail.
Angela M. Hock, 36, of Riverdale, Nebraska, was booked into the Douglas County Jail on Wednesday after a baby died following an unsuccessful home delivery in Omaha in June.
Hock would have to put up 10% of the bail amount, or $2,500, to be released from custody. Her husband, Tracy Hock, who attended the hearing, declined to comment.
According to an affidavit filed in Douglas County, Omaha Fire Department paramedics were dispatched to a home near 48th and Spaulding Streets about 9:25 p.m. June 15. They found Hock, who operates Nebraska Birth Keeper, attempting to help 25-year-old Emily Noe deliver a breech baby in the home.
The baby girl eventually was delivered by rescue squad personnel en route to the Nebraska Medical Center. She was limp, wasn’t breathing and had no pulse, according to the affidavit. The ambulance crew worked to resuscitate the baby, who was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital and placed on life support.
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Dr. Katherine Lessman, who was the obstetrician-gynecologist on call at the hospital when Emily Noe arrived, told police that Noe had told her she had been in labor for 24 hours. Noe told Lessman that she had known for a couple of hours that the baby was breech and that she had been pushing for an hour in an attempt to deliver the baby before 911 was called.
Lessman said the baby had been without oxygen and, as a result, suffered brain swelling. Lessman said there was a very strong possibility that the baby would die because of the injury, the affidavit said.
The baby girl, named Vera, was pronounced dead June 17.
Investigators said they confirmed with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services that Hock does not hold any medical or certified nurse midwife license in Nebraska.
In court Friday, Hock’s attorney, Stuart Dornan, said that Hock had training as a “direct-entry midwife.” According to the Midwives Alliance of North America, a direct-entry midwife can be trained through self-study or a college program without first becoming a nurse. Direct-entry midwives usually perform births in out-of-hospital settings, according to the organization.
Certified nurse midwives who attend births in hospitals first study to become registered nurses, then take classes from an accredited program to learn how to be a nurse midwife.
Noe told police that her water broke about 9 p.m. June 14. Hock arrived at her home about 6 a.m. June 15 to assist in the delivery, the affidavit said. Noe said Hock asked her if she wanted to continue the birth at home and told Noe she had been trained in delivering breech babies. Noe said she decided to continue with the at-home birth.
After 30 minutes or more, Noe told police, the baby was delivered up to her shoulders, and Hock realized that she wouldn’t be able to deliver the baby and advised calling 911.
Lessman, the OB-GYN, told investigators that in her medical opinion, the birth was handled negligently, resulting in death of the baby. The death was preventable, Lessman said, had appropriate medical care been provided in a timely fashion.
Hock “made every attempt to save the life of the child,” Dornan said Friday.
Investigators determined that Hock was paid by Noe and her husband, Crayton Noe, “between $3,000 and $4,000” for home birth midwife services, according to the affidavit.