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Poor judgment in home birth leads to baby's death

Home birth

Research shows that home births have been on the rise in recent years, yet they still only account for less than one percent of all births in the United States.

How safe are they? According to the Mayo Clinic, birthing mothers aren't afforded the same level of care and monitoring at home that they would receive in a hospital. Still, some women choose home births for the following reasons:

  • The desire to avoid medical intervention, including pain medication, labor augmentation, labor induction or fetal heart rate monitoring
  • To be in a comfortable and familiar place with family while giving birth
  • General dissatisfaction with hospital care
  • To have control and freedom during birth
  • Cultural or religious reasons
  • Limited access to transportation
  • Cost-effectiveness

How safe are home births?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urges birthing mothers to avoid home births if they are pregnant with multiple babies, previously had a C-section, or the baby isn't in a position to be born head first. With the absence of a certified midwife, nurse, doctor, or emergency plan, any complications that arise could be fatal.

Home births, however, do require the help of a licensed doula or midwife. Outside of the hospital, oversight is limited, making it more likely to unknowingly hire an unlicensed or inexperienced midwife.

Botched home birth & a baby's death

Last June, Angela Hock, a self-proclaimed midwife, was arrested after attempting to deliver a baby in a fatal breech birth (bottom first rather than head first). She was later booked and charged with homicide child abuse.

The mother went into labor at 9 p.m. on June 14, but Hock arrived at 6 p.m. the following day to help with the birth, according to a criminal complaint. After only the baby's foot was delivered, Hock reportedly told the mother that she was trained in delivering breech births. After 30 minutes, the baby was only delivered up to the shoulder. At that time, Hock instructed a doula to call 911.

When paramedics arrived, the baby was still being delivered in a breech position. The baby was delivered in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, but was "limp and unresponsive." The baby suffered severe brain swelling after being deprived of oxygen for more than 10 minutes. Two days later, the baby died after being pulled off of life support.

According to doctors, this death could have been prevented had the mother received proper medical care.

Hock, who was paid between $3,000 and $4,000 for her services, turned out to be unlicensed in the state, according to Nebraska Health and Human Services.

Our birth injury lawyers can help

In most cases, home births are relatively safe, but in this particular case, Hock took the wrong course of action rather than seek immediate medical help as soon as a breech birth was discovered. Poor judgment and failure to take appropriate action is a factor in many birth injuries and deaths.

That's why if you experienced a birth injury or death in your family that could have been prevented, it's critical that you take action. Tyrone Law Firm, PC, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is dedicated to helping families seek answers and justice. To find out how we can help you, contact us online and schedule your free consultation with our legal team.

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