Send in the clowns … to defend Dr. Biter

With apologies to Stephen Sondheim:

“Isn’t it rich?
Isn’t it queer?
Losing my judgment this late in my career.”

That’s the sad song that many homebirth advocates could and should be singing, having made total fools of themselves over Dr. Robert Biter.

I’ve been writing about Dr. Biter since his hospital privileges were suspended in 2010.

The supporters of Dr. Robert Biter, the San Diego obstetrician whose privileges have been suspended by Scripps Encinitas can’t seem to figure out why this has happened. They ought to check the public records of the San Diego Superior Court website. Evidently Dr. Biter has been sued 6 times in the past 5 years! That must be some sort of record, especially when you consider that he has only been in practice since 2001.

Dr. Biter’s supporters included Ricki Lake, Rixa Freeze, Jill Arnold of the Unnecessarean, Barbara Herrera of Navelgazing Midwife, many other pregnancy bloggers and a Facebook group entitled “I love Dr. Biter.” They reflexively supported him without ever doing the most basic research that would have revealed the 6 pending lawsuits.

When the existence of the lawsuits was publicized, Ricki Lake backed away. It took a bit longer for Barbara Herrera to recognize that she had been conned. The rest didn’t care. The facts made no difference to most of his supporters.

And those supporters put their money where there mouth is. They gave money for Dr. Biter’s planned birth center, despite his own acknowledgement that the money was being funneled to his personal bank account, and despite the fact that there was no public record of any attempt to start a birth center. I guess if you are intent on making a fool of yourself, you might as well go all the way.

In the intervening years, Dr. Biter has been the subject of disciplinary hearings that revealed the details of multiple instances of medical malpractice and gross negligence (reports available at the Medical Board of California website). Still his supporters clung on and women continued to hire him to deliver their babies. Then in July of 2012, having already put his signature to a legal document requiring him to have another physician supervise him, he attended a homebirth by himself. The baby died and, as in the previous cases, the findings of the inquiry included malpractice and gross negligence.

Now Dr. Biter faces permanent suspension of his license. Although Dr. Biter has not contested any of the allegations against him and has actually acknowledged the truth of the accusations by signing documents admitting to them, he is still trying to con his supporters and they are still acting like clowns.

Katie McCall, the creator of the Sisters in Chains, the appalling Facebook page dedicated to homebirth midwives who are “persecuted” for no better reason than the fact that a few babies died here or there, recently offered Dr. Biter her support.

Just stopping by to give my love this new year. My it be an amazing improvement on the last for both of us.

Biter replies with his usual self-absoprtion:

… Truth can be slow at times, and it is amazing how people use our tragedies to their own self interests or self importance in the social media world…

Earth to Dr. Biter:

What’s tragic is the loss of innocent life and the injuries to the women who trusted you. The suspension of your license is best described by another word: justice.

The story of Dr. Biter is an object lesson in the way that homebirth advocacy works. Find a quack you like; do no research of any kind; ignore facts you don’t like; give money to con artists, let innocent people be injured and die. Rinse and repeat until the quack’s license is removed or she is arrested. Then pretend it is all a conspiracy.

“Don’t you love farce?
Dr. Biter’s fault I fear.
He thought that you’d want what he wants.
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don’t bother, they’re here.”