Unlicensed woman who acted as midwife arrested after baby dies at Neb. hospital

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

Angela Hock turned herself in and was booked early Wednesday. She faces felony charges of negligent child abuse resulting in death, after an infant she attempted to help deliver died June 17.

The Douglas County Attorney’s Office said Hock is expected to appear in court Friday.

Angela Hock faces felony charges of negligent child abuse resulting in death, after an infant she attempted to help deliver died days after birth.
Angela Hock faces felony charges of negligent child abuse resulting in death, after an infant she attempted to help deliver died days after birth. (Source: Douglas County Sheriff's Office/WOWT/CNN)

At about 9:15 p.m. June 15, Omaha Fire Department paramedics were called to a home where a 25-year-old woman at full term in her pregnancy was in distress following complications during a breech birth.

The woman told police she went into labor at about 9 p.m. June 14. Hock reportedly arrived to help with the birth at 6 p.m. June 15, according to a criminal complaint.

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 911.

When police arrived, they found Hock assisting the pregnant woman and asking for medical scissors, 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 baby, delivered by paramedics while en route to a hospital, was limp and unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint. Resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.

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 a result of the injuries.

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 Keeper, and “had known for a couple hours that the baby was in breech” position but continued with the birthing process for an hour before 911 was called, the court documents state.

The baby was pronounced dead 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 investigators she had signed an agreement for Hock’s midwife services and that she and her husband had paid Hock about $3,000 to $4,000 for those services.

A doula was also present at the home birth and called 911 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.

Joann Floyd, the grandmother of the deceased baby Vera, got to hold the little girl before she died.
Joann Floyd, the grandmother of the deceased baby Vera, got to hold the little girl before she died. (Source: WOWT/CNN)

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, the grandmother of the deceased infant, who was named Vera, got to hold the baby before she died. She is now demanding tougher laws and penalties for unlicensed midwifery.

“We’ve been trying to hold it together here, and I’m angry, which is probably why I’m out already taking to people about how we can fix this. How can I protect other babies from this ever happening?” Floyd said.

Lydia Rhodes, a certified nurse-midwife who has been delivering babies for over 15 years, says midwifes are not equipped to handle breech babies.

In addition, authorities say home deliveries are against the law in Nebraska.

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