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Midwife Pleads Guilty in Baby's Death

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By Robin Enos on May 12, 2011 6:56 AM

After the tragic death of a baby during a home delivery, a Baltimore midwife has pled guilty to criminal charges. Karen Carr has pled guilty in Alexandria, Virginia, to felony child endangerment and performing an invasive procedure without a license.

The unnamed mother wished to deliver her baby at home, despite it being a breech birth and the fact that another midwife turned the case down, reports Slate.

Prosecutor Krista Boucher said Carr's responsibility arose from the facts of this case. The baby's head was trapped during the delivery for 20 minutes. Then Carr and two assistants tried to revive the baby for 13 more minutes before calling 911. The baby expired two days later in a hospital, reports Slate.

Carr, 44, a Maryland resident and veteran of 1,200 midwife deliveries, held no Virginia license to practice, reports Slate.

Prosecutors insisted the decision to charge Carr with involuntary manslaughter would have been brought if Carr were either a midwife or a doctor.

Karen Carr's plea resulted from a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Carr was charged under a Virginia statute imposing manslaughter liability for an unintentional killing resulting from "callous disregard for human life," reports Slate.

If convicted, Carr would face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Under the plea agreement, Carr was fined $5,000, ordered to return the $3,200 fee she charged, and serve five days in jail, reports UPI.

Did the baby die because Carr respected the independent judgment of the mother, or was Carr criminally reckless, and therefore criminally responsible?

For Karen Carr, the risk of placing that choice in the hands of a Virginia jury, and the possibility of a long jail term, exceeded the pain of a lost career, a fine and a brief jail sentence.

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