Midwife to stand trial in home delivery death

/ Source: The Associated Press

At a hearing that drew busloads of Amish protesters, a judge Thursday ordered a midwife to stand trial in the death of an infant after a complicated home delivery.

The order that Judith Wilson, 48, face an involuntary manslaughter charge came a year after the county coroner recommended prosecution, saying Wilson did not do enough to help the baby when the feet-first delivery began.

Isaac Daley died Nov. 21, 2002, two days after he was born at the home of his parents, Jonathan and Heather Daley.

The Daleys have consistently said they oppose criminal charges.

“She provided the standard of care that we wanted,” Jonathan Daley said after the hearing. He added that children can die in hospitals, too.

Supporters back midwife
Wilson’s attorney, Stephen Colafella, said Heather Daley wanted to stay home and have the baby even after Wilson told her it was a breech birth.

Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht said Wilson should have overruled the parents and recommended medical care after the boy remained in the birth canal for about 90 minutes.

Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist, testified that injuries the baby suffered as Wilson tried to remove him from the birth canal could not have been caused by paramedics or doctors who treated the baby after Wilson finally called for medical help.

Had the mother been in a hospital and the child delivered by Caesarean section, it would have survived, Omalu said.

Scores of supporters — including several busloads of Amish, who largely shun modern medicine and rely on midwives — gathered outside the courtroom to back Wilson. Wilson is not Amish herself, but her hometown of Portersville lies in a heavily Amish area.

The involuntary manslaughter charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Wilson also will be tried on charges of endangering the welfare of a child.