I’ve been getting lots of emails about People Magazine’s article on Kimberly Van Der Beek’s homebirth.
Kimberly is the wife of sitcom star James Van Der Beek. Facing a C-section for a breech baby, Kimberly met with Dr. Stuart Fischbein, “an angel in the birthing world,” who ultimately presided over the breech homebirth of her son.
My correspondents wanted to know why an MD would preside over a breech homebirth. I don’t know for sure, but it could be because Dr. Fischbein is a convicted sexual predator who lost his hospital privileges.
The offense was described by the Ventura County Star:
His patient, identified in Medical Board records as S.K., was 14 years younger than he and earning her doctorate degree in psychology. She came to Fischbein’s office in Century City with her fiancee. They wanted to have a baby.
… He performed surgery … to remove a mass in her uterus and called her “sweet pea” in the recovery room. He sat at her bedside for long intimate talks, testifying in a hearing he viewed her as not just a patient, but as a woman…
S.K. said Fischbein told her he would be a better father than her fiancee. He persuaded her to leave him.
They talked about the ethics of doctor-patient relationships. She said he told her he dated “bushels” of patients. Fischbein denied the comment or any other relationship with a patient.
She said he advised her not to have sex for four to six weeks after surgery. Fischbein said in court he didn’t remember the discussion.
Five days after she was released from the hospital and eight days after surgery, he called and asked to visit her at her home in Los Angeles. They had sex then and again two days later at Fischbein’s home.
He testified it was consensual. She said she viewed him as a doctor who had performed a surgery that was going to enable her to have a baby. He had become a hero who seemed almost “godlike.” And he was interested in her.
“I would have done anything he would have told me to do,” said the woman, who is suing Fischbein. “I look back with my hindsight and with my mind today and say, How could I have done this?'”
As a result, the California Board of Medicine placed him on probation for 7 years. The Board recently voted to continue the probation, expressing astonishment that Dr.Fischbein was attempting to produce a movie entitled Bedside Man to tell “his side” of the story.
In an effort to promote “Bedside Man” for financial investment to make a full length movie, the trailer was made accessible over the internet. One hospital where Petitioner was affiliated found out about it and contacted Petitioner’s psychotherapist… From her letter detailing the events, it appears that [she] was readily able to see the impropriety of the project while Petitioner had not. She told him that the project “did not represent him as a man who had made a terrible error in judgment.” [The psychotherapist] persuaded Petitioner that the project was an error and for the trailer to be removed from the internet. Petitioner has done so.
The Board did not terminate the probation, writing:
[He] views probation as punishment and an inconvenience… Although he no doubt has encountered difficulties practicing while on probation, he still tends to overstate those difficulties. He has openly chaffed at the requirement that he have a third party chaperone during interactions with female patients. It is clear that once off probation, the chaperone requirement would quickly disappear from his practice as the lessons learned from these events fade and the inconvenience grows…
The report concludes:
More alarming was Petitioner’s participation in the movie script and trailer. This activity shows that Petitioner still harbors bad feelings about what happened to him, suggesting that he does not fully believe he engaged in misconduct… Such a state of mind does not bode well for the proposition of removing Petitioner completely from the Board’s probationary oversight. In all, these events demonstrate sufficient concern over the course of Petitioner’s rehabilitation as to indicate that continuing probation with all terms should continue in order to protect the public…
How “educated” about homebirth was Ms. Van Deer Beek if she didn’t know her own provider is a convicted sexual predator?
And why are homebirth advocates lauding him?
As usual, Gina Crossly-Corcoran, The Feminist Breeder, captures the utter cluelessness of homebirth advocates:
I spent a dinner with the doctor who assisted her, Dr. Stuart Fischbein, OB/GYN, and wish we could clone him a thousand times. THIS is how you support women and healthy birth!
How charming. He’s a sexual predator and she wants to clone him a thousand times. I suspect it would be more accurate to say this is WHY Dr. Fischbein is promoting the grossly irresponsible practice of breech homebirth. How else is the guy going to make any money?
What’s Ricki Lake’s excuse for featuring a convicted sexual predator on her talk show.
Why is the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) supporting a conference on breech birth where a convicted sexual predator is one of the featured speakers.
I’d love to hear their explanations. I guess it adds new meaning to the expression “with women.”
Sexual exploitation of a patient is probably the most egregious violation of professional conduct that any obstetrician-gynecologist can commit. I am appalled that homebirth advocates are lauding a man who is a convicted sexual predator, one who doesn’t even acknowledge the gravity of his offense. Ricki Lake, the SOGC and everyone else should sever ties with this man immediately or explain to the rest of us why they are promoting the career of a man who has committed a hideous violation of a woman’s trust.