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Utah midwife gets probation in baby’s death, cannot attend births
Courts » El Halta “played God,” says baby’s grandfather.

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Investigators allege that El Halta panicked, grabbed a medical device known as a vacuum, which she had brought, attached it to the newborn’s head and removed him from the mother with one pull.

The baby was blue, listless and not breathing, according to the charges.

At a glance

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El Halta attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation while 911 was called. The newborn was taken to Moab Regional Hospital. El Halta told the parents to "pray to whatever God they believed in," according to the charges.

Court documents describe how after the baby was taken to the hospital, El Halta gave the mother two injections of Pitocin, and a while later, the mother lost four cups of blood at the home. El Halta advised the husband to call 911 and tried to suture the mother, the charges add.

At the hospital, medical professionals allegedly found "profound trauma" as a result of the use of the vacuum, which would have killed the mother if there had been a delay in getting her to the hospital.

The newborn was later taken to Primary Children’s Medical Center, where he died of oxygen deprivation to the brain on Aug. 25 after he was taken off life support.

The woman and baby were not identified by name in court documents.

El Halta admits in plea agreement documents to using a prescription drug on a person without prescriptive authority, and to using a vacuum extractor, which she did not have a license to use.

This was not the first birth El Halta has attended that ended in an infant’s death.

Rebecca Malloy told a Salt Lake Tribune reporter recently that El Halta attended the 1993 birth of her twins in Dearborn, Mich.

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After 27 hours of labor, the first baby, Lia Joy, was born, but was quickly "whisked away," and eventually was taken to a hospital. The infant died after three weeks on life support. Her twin thrived.

Malloy sued El Halta and said she received a $1 million default judgment, but attorneys deemed El Halta to be "uncollectable," Malloy said. Non-nurse midwives generally are not required to carry malpractice insurance.

Tribune correspondent Rudy Herndon contributed to this story.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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