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Unlicensed Midwife Charged in Baby Death

Updated: Thursday, March 28 2013, 05:14 PM EDT
Self proclaimed midwife Tina Bailey is in a lot of trouble.  She's accused of practicing midwifery without a license, experience, and training, causing the death of the baby she was trying to help deliver.

In October Bailey was ordered not to practice midwifery by the state Medical Board.

Sommer Balken was in court when Bailey made a first appearance Thursday.  "She just didn't have the emotion that I would've had if I had accidentally killed a baby and I was facing 25 to life."

Police said the crime happened last July, though charges were just filed this March 20th, nine months later.

Jan Verhaeghe is a certified nurse midwife with over 30 years experience.  She told News 13's Mario Boone illegal midwives are pervasive in Asheville and beyond.  "Asheville has an active community that's not certified nurse midwives," she said.  Verhaeghe also said baby deaths like this are rare.  "No, fortunately it is not common."

In this case the mom-to-be was past due and court documents say the baby swallowed its own waste in the womb.  Verhaeghe said an experienced midwife possibly could've spotted this danger sign saved the child.  "This is quite a complicated process and there are a lot of things that can go wrong."

So why would an expectant mom risk hiring an unlicensed midwife?  Said Verhaeghe, "good question.  There is a certain feeling against medicine or the medical community or western medicine particularly in Asheville."

Bailey is also charged with obtaining property by false pretense and obstructing justice.  If convicted Bailey could be sent to prison for life.  She's being held under a $150,000 bond.

By: Mario Boone, mlboone@wlos.com
Follow on Twitter: @marioboone

Unlicensed Midwife Charged in Baby Death


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