Nothing demonstrates contempt for babies, mothers and truth like this picture from the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference

Biter at HRiC

A big shout out to my friends at the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference (HRiC). Why are they my friends? Because they demonstrate better than I ever could that homebirth advocacy is morally grotesque, ethically bankrupt and has an appalling contempt for both the truth and for the babies and women injured by homebirth providers.

I’ve written before about the morally grotesque campaign for human rights in childbirth. You or I might think that human rights in childbirth refers to making sure that all women have access to competent medical care, without regard for ability to pay, that incarcerated women not be forced to labor in chains, and that women have access to birth control. Don’t be foolish. Who cares about those women? The HRiC is about the “rights” of white, Western, relatively well off midwives, doulas and childbirth educators to do and say whatever they want and be paid for it.

But nothing says “fuck you” to babies, mothers and the truth like the above photo, taken at the HRiC Conference.

What does the picture show? According to the tweet that accompanied it:

Dr. Biter talks about how he was stripped of his OB privileges for supporting physiologic birth

You remember Dr. Robert Biter, don’t you? He’s the doctor who makes recently arrested “midwife” Rowan Bailey look like Mother Theresa by contrast.

Dr. Biter did NOT lose his privileges (at a hospital known for supporting physiologic birth) because he was supporting physiologic birth. He lost them because he was named in multiple malpractice suits. His license to practice medicine was severely restricted because of 7 separate instances that the Medical Board of California described as:

“gross negligence in his care and treatment” of a patient
“repeated negligent acts” performed on 6 additional patients
“prescribing without an appropriate prior examination”
“acts of dishonesty with respect to the care and treatment of patients”
“failure to maintain adequate and accurate medical records”
“general unprofessional conduct”

As a result of his conduct, Dr. Biter was suspended from the practice of medicine for 60 days, followed by 7 years of strict probation. However, AFTER Dr. Biter signed documents acknowledging the findings of the Board and the prescribed disciplinary action, but before the official start of the suspension, Dr. Biter presided over a homebirth death. He now faces the possibility of permanent revocation of his license.

In other words, there is absolutely no evidence that the multiple disciplinary measures faced by Dr. Biter have anything to do with physiologic birth. He has been disciplined for 8 separate instances of malpractice including the death of a baby at homebirth. He has been found grossly negligent, dishonest and unprofessional.

So why was he a featured speaker at the HRiC Conference?

Because when homebirth advocates talk about human rights in childbirth, they aren’t talking about mothers or babies, they’re talking about homebirth providers and their “right” to do whatever they want, whenever they want, without oversight of any kind, regardless of who is injured or dies in the process.

What about the human rights of the women and babies injured and killed by incompetent homebirth practitioners? They apparently have no rights at all.

So thanks again to my friends at the HRiC. I and others are working tireless to prevent the licensing of incompetent and deadly homebirth practitioners and you are working tireless to demonstrate why that is absolutely necessary.

Honestly, I couldn’t succeed without you.

  • AmyM

    Totally OT: I am worried for my sister. Her son was due yesterday, and he is estimated to be over 9lbs now. (My sister is petite–5’2, she was only a little over 6lb at birth. No GD either.) Anyway, her doctor scheduled her for an induction on Monday am, if baby doesn’t make an appearance by then. She’s 70% effaced, 1cm dilated, and she is VERY concerned that she’ll have to go through the induction for 2 days only to have it end with a Csection anyway. She is terrified of shoulder dystocia, tearing and hemorrhaging (if baby really is as big as estimated) and she kind of wants to just have a Csection. She’s willing to give VB a try if labor starts spontaneously. She doesn’t want to wait to 41wk, and her doctor wasn’t real keen on it anyway.

    Anyway, I told her to ask for a Csection, or to see if the cervadil moves things along and if not, then ask for the section. She told me she got flustered talking to the doctor and MA, and so simply agreed with going ahead with the induction on Monday. She’s not happy with this, but for whatever reason is too intimidated by the doctor to bring it up again.

    I didn’t get the impression that these doctors are especially pro-NCB, but I don’t know why they haven’t mentioned Csection as a viable option, especially in the case of a first time mom, without favorable cervix (could change by monday, true) and an estimated big baby. I agreed with my sister that it is probably easier to heal from a planned pre-labor Csection than from an emergency Csection after 48hr of labor, or extensive vaginal tearing. Anyway, if she really wants the section, I hope she finds her voice and asks for it (in an assertive way) before things get to the point where she is exhausted and discouraged.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Doesn’t seem all that likely that they would let her labour for a long time, unless it is a terrible hospital commited to reducing the CS rate, and inductions don’t always take a long time to get going. (Not that I have much of a clue, but my daughter’s labour went well and quickly even though she was only 35 weeks.) And given that lots of women are so afraid of CS, not mentioning it may not be that significant.

      When I was panicking over my daughter’s induction, I was told firmly that attempting vaginal was “better” and in the end it maybe was. In your shoes, I think I would try to support her to make her views clear to her doctors. Do hope things go well, and she is listened to.

      • AmyM

        Yes, that is what I did. We live in different states, so I’ve only talked to her on the phone, but I told her I would support her in whatever she chooses, and that she has a right to ask for a Csection if she wants one. I pointed out also, that a doctor can refuse that request, but in her situation, I think she’d be able to get it. I don’t know anything about the hospital…hope it isn’t too woo-laden. Still, the doctor wanting to induce at 40wk and not wait until 41 or later is a step in the right direction.

    • AllieFoyle

      What a shame she doesn’t feel comfortable talking to her doctor about her worries and preferences. I’m sure the doctor is just trying to do the appropriate thing, but it seems like she has some very reasonable concerns that deserve to be addressed. I hope it all goes well for her.

    • Jessica

      Being short doesn’t necessarily mean that one’s pelvis is too small,
      just as being tall doesn’t mean that a baby’s head will automatically
      fit through. Growth ultrasounds are very often inaccurate in estimating a
      baby’s weight (yes, they can underestimate). So while I agree her concerns are legitimate and she should talk to her doctor about them, it’s entirely possible that the baby is smaller than 9 pounds and that she will not suffer significant tearing as he’s born. She should definitely talk to her doctor about the use of a cervical ripening agent in order to reduce the odds of a failed induction, or talk about a C-section! I hope it all goes smoothly and she and baby are healthy and happy in the end.

      FWIW, here’s my anecdote. I was about as dilated and effaced as she was when I was induced. I got Cytotec the night before (my doc says more effective than Cervadil), and from first drip of pitocin to baby being put on my chest labor was 10.5 hours, and only about 3.5 hours of that was truly active labor. I pushed for 40-50 minutes and had a 2nd degree tear. My son was just a hair under 8 pounds but he has a huge head. The only thing I would do differently is get the epidural right away instead of waiting until 4 cm when it became incredibly painful and intense. I think that would have made the whole experience much less exhausting.

  • Lizz

    OT: I’ve been absent from everything for a long time because I got the stupid idea to become a doula. Not the typical kind though I was hoping that it could help in the prenatal program that they have some of us public health students help with to help at risk mothers access pre- and post-natal services, referring for breastfeeding “education” and generally trying to build a good friendship because they have better pregnancy outcomes that way.

    I’d read a bit about doulas and they seemed to make more difference for women who can’t afford them, so I’m good with little money to free just to help people. Plus I found out that most of the doulas in my area are too snotty to take on a client who wants pain meds,is having a c-section or induction,is formula feeding and some won’t even take you on if your circumsizing

    . Anyway I was going to be the one bring free support to the poor(it’s my thing it leaves poor too but makes you feel better at the end of the day).

    I feel like an idiot because now I have to read all these books and they’re driving me crazy. I keep telling myself I can do this if I just treat it as a big opinion piece and pretend it’s like taking ethics with all of those opinion papers that I have to read for school.

    I payed the money,I need to get through this,how do you read through this crap? Do you think this is even worth it for the prenatal program? Many people thought it was and for me to be more valuable to the program but I just don’t know.

    • Get through it, and then subvert it anyway you can. Though I agree that having to toe a party line that makes no sense to you needs gritted teeth.

      I have a problem with the word doula, as I can’t quite grasp why a privileged woman who ought to be able to speak up for herself (or have family who can support her) needs that kind of support, and would regard the woo filled variety as something of a menace. But offering real support to women who can benefit from it – now that is something else, and does make sense.

      Other professions get steeped in theoretical ideological nonsenses as well. In the UK, teaching and social work spring to mind. It is possible to function within them though openly challenging the latest fad doesn’t work well.

    • To be honest, I think of pregnancy/labor/delivery as something approaching a soldier marching off to battle. You start on a long march, you carry extra weight, there’s a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, you don’t have much control over when the battle starts and it when it does start, all the planning can dissolve into chaos quickly. You don’t know if you’ll make it through unscathed or be injured. You might be brave and you might be terrified and you might be both, even in the same minute.

      You are relying on your officer and your mates to help you out if you get into a tight spot.

      If you wonder what a doula has to do with this military model, the military has chaplains for a good reason. Soldiers need someone to talk to who isn’t part of the system or the hierarchy, who they can trust to help them.

      (I’m chuckling because this is far from biological essentialism and empowering women, and it wasn’t my intent.)

    • On a less dogmatic note – congratulations!

      You are on your way to becoming what I refer to as the “sane doulas”. People who want to help make a stressful journey less chaotic, more understandable and more – dare I say it – empowering. Empowerment comes when you know you not only have choices, but have the ability to choose and have others respect your choices.

      I think that women should know what choices are available, and be fully informed as to the risks and benefits of those choices.

      • Lizz

        Yeah I wanted to give more choices to these at risk women. At risk can mean ladies from the Methodone treatment program, homelessness transition, and ones from a few other programs. It’s really common for these women to have a background of abuse including sexual abuse. It may be classest but it just felt like that if anybody needs to feel empowered and like people respect what they are doing it’s a homeless woman or a former heroine addict.

    • fiftyfifty1

      I have seen 2 types of doulas be very helpful:
      1. Cross-cultural doulas. My old hopsital had a free doula program for its Somali patients. These doulas were Somali themselves and had each already given birth in the United States. They were not the interpreter, but rather a support person for the laboring woman. Very helpful program.
      2. Doulas for poor people. This type of doula followed a woman all the way through her pregnancy and birth and postpartum. Moms in this doula program were found to be more likely to show up for their prenatal appointments and postnatal appointments. Also helpful because some of these moms wouldn’t have a good labor support person otherwise.
      The problem is that almost all women who go looking for, and who are able to pay for a doula do it with the idea of wanting a more or less NCB type birth.

      • Squillo

        I’ve often said we need doulas availalble for the hospitalized elderly and those at the end of life.

      • Did your hospital have a lot of Somali patients, fiftyfifty? Were there any issues? I hear that Somali mothers are often very distrustful of hospitals for a variety of reasons, also that managing these births can be tricky due to the pharonic circumcision issue.

        • fiftyfifty1

          Yes, lots of Somali patients. Initially a lot of issues, but much less so now. I think the doulas really helped. Also providing female-only staff whenever possible. Understanding a few cultural issues such as that almost all Somali moms choose to combo feed, and lactation consultants and nurses have come to accept this. Also culturally they are expected to do less for the baby after birth as they are supposed to rest. The postpartum nurses were getting upset about that thinking “They are lazy and don’t show an interest in the baby”. The circ issue is not usually so bad although you must do an epis, and sometimes depending on the scar tissue get very creative with that. Sometimes do 2 smaller episiotomies etc. Here we give the woman the option to be sewn back up the way she wants. Most, but not all, women choose to be sewn back up with more room than they had been. Now, of course, fewer have been circ’ed as girls born here are aging up into their reproductive years.

      • Lizz

        Doula for the poor is what I was going for and I’ll be happy to support somebody if they want a NCB type of birth and I can respect if somebody wants a home birth for comfort reasons, I just won’t lie to anybody or hide anything.

    • Laural

      Lol. I’m sorry. I remember ‘becoming’ a doula… I went to a DONA certification or whatever, bought all of those books on the list, etc. what a bunch of malarky. You don’t realy have to read them. At least not based on my experience. I did read them, but, even in those days over a decade ago I managed to get in heated discussions with the leaders when they started talking about what kind of women they could support and what kind they just couldn’t. All the research they had us read supported that women have the most positive view of their birth when it matched the woman’s own expectations. These doulas wanted births that matched only the NCB expectation.

    • Bombshellrisa

      The part the bugs me most (years after I took the classes, ect) is that you can only count 1 C-section birth towards those you attend for certification. It’s like saying that helping a woman through a C-section isn’t really supporting her. Or that the goal should be avoiding a section.
      Please consider staying with it, for the women who are induced, would like pain relief, need C-section. They need your support. Don’t feel stupid for having had to go through the class and read the books. You have a lot to give, given the fact that you see this what doulas are taught for what it is. Be the voice of reason in a sea of woo!

    • The no-circ doula is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. They may as well start declining clients on whether they use paper/plastic/cloth (bags) or based on the type of car they do or don’t drive.

      And yes, I’ve heard of it before.

    • Have you thought about going more into the post-partum doula end of things? Supporting the mother after birth with postnatal care, breastfeeding and the general process of learning to look after the baby.

      • Lizz

        I’m going to try to do that next because I was really interested in working with postpartum depression because of my own personal experiences with it. The workshop for it just takes longer and isn’t until September.

  • A copy of my Facebook post:

    Between
    the “human rights” conference and the fund raiser to bail out Ms.
    Bailey, I’m ready to throw my support behind CNMs and ignore all other
    midwives until they stop supporting dangerous midwives.

    The
    proper response to incompetence and negligence that leads to preventable
    deaths should not be framing the perpetrator as a wrongfully persecuted
    victim. The proper response would be to ask “What went wrong?” How
    could it be prevented? Are any other midwives practicing this way? How
    can we encourage them to change their practices?”.

    I’m certain
    that there are competent, responsible, ethical midwives. Why aren’t
    THEY getting the support and recognition they deserve? Why aren’t they
    promoted to leadership positions?

    If midwives continue to support the worst midwives practicing, that’s
    what they’ll be known for. I can’t change that part of the midwifery
    culture. Only midwives can.

    Ladies, it’s your move. This is
    your status quo. Will you continue to sit down and shut up, or take a
    stand and make a change?

  • notahomebirthlactivist

    Someone should make a documentary about this crazy.. kind of like a spin on the bobb. It all makes me sick.

  • R T

    I feel so horrible for the family who lost their baby during a home birth with Dr. Biter, but he helped save my son! When I had my partial abruption at 20 weeks, the head MFM who was also the head of OB/GYN was refusing to give me anything for the contractions before 24 weeks and pushing me to abort! She also refused to give me a referral to any other Perinatologists in the area who would not see me without a referral. No other OB in San Diego would help me out of respect for the MFM who is very well connected in San Diego. I had met Dr. Biter on an airplane and my husband and him grew up in the same small town so they had mutual acquaintances. Once when I need an u/s done in the 1st trimester & the naval hospital couldn’t get me in for weeks, I had Dr. Biter do it and send it to my RE so I wouldn’t have to drive to my RE in LA with my horrible morning sickness. Anyway, no one would help me or my baby so I called Dr. Biter and asked him to help me. He told me the name of the best Perinatologist in San Diego and gave me a referral to him! Dr. Catanzarite turned out to be a genius and an AMAZING doctor! With Dr. Catanzarite I know my son wouldn’t be here right now and without Dr. Biter’s referral I would never have known him. I’m very thankful to Dr. Biter for helping me when every single other doctor in town shut their door in my face! He may have done some terrible things, but he did a wonderful thing for me! It’s so sad he made so many bad choices and put other babies in danger.

    All that being said, my husband and I both agreed we’d never want him to be my OB. He was much to buddy buddy for my taste and we just didn’t feel comfortable with him as a doctor! I like my doctors professional and to the point! No small talk! We thought it was like able as a person, but not someone we would trust as an OB. This way before his homebirth death and the full details of his malpractice suits were fully available!

    • Laura

      I am so glad for your great outcome. It sounds like Dr. Biter gave you a great referral, but not any good medical care to speak of. Your impressions of him as “too buddy buddy” are very interesting, too.

    • Renee Martin

      A mom on this site had a partial abruption around 20- 22 weeks, and she had no problem getting care in San Diego, even though the situation was very grim. She spent a lot of time at Mary Birch (I had my DS there too). With a combination of good luck and aggressive treatment, her baby made it to full term and is now a healthy baby.

      How awful you had such a bad experience, I am glad he was helpful, and I am sure others can say the same thing. Even awful docs can have their good days too.

    • Sue

      RT – it’s great that he was able to make the referral for you – even the worst practitioners aren’t terrible all the time. Glad you had the insight to see him for what he is, though, and had a good outcome.

      • KarenJJ

        I have a friend whose obgyn was the ‘Butcher of Bega’. She thought he was a good practitioner and had a great bedside manner. He lost his hospital privileges while she was pregnant and he transferred all his patients to new obgyns.

        I think that people that think someone commits malpractice is going to ring alarm bells and that ‘nice’ people that present well and give a good spiel don’t do that.

        • Aussiedoc

          I worked in that area post butcher of Bega and I can confirm that. A lot of women loved him. Sign of why medical board oversight is so important,

          • Sue

            Ironically, the so-called “Butcher”, who was jailed, doesn’t seem to have harmed as many women or babies as Biter.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Almost by definition, predators do not seem to be bad. If someone “gives off a bad vibe,” they aren’t going to get close enough to anyone to prey on them.

          There is a reason used car salesmen are slick and friendly. If they weren’t, they couldn’t sell you crappy cars and they wouldn’t be used car salesmen.

  • Deplorable.

    • I don’t have a creative name

      And yet completely unsurprising.

  • It’s so ironic, when the supporters of negligent midwives ask if any doctors are ever prosecuted and stripped of rights to practice. We Dr. Biter and they support him too! They really have a habit of throwing their lot in with losers.

  • Guest

    It is absolutely unreal to me that they continue to support Biter. I guess it points out how very desperate they are.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I realize it is apropos of nothing, but I have to say, that picture of him is so not flattering. Man he looks like a sleazeball (especially if you think it looks like he’s got a cigarette in his left hand).

      • quadrophenic

        His Facebook cover pic is really disturbing: facebook.com/robert.biter

        • Laura

          I kept scrolling up trying to find his face among that sea of crying babies that looked like they were about to slide off his lap or the couch at any minute. What an unsettling picture.

          • auntbea

            I was yelling “that’s not safe!” at the picture.

          • GiddyUpGo123

            Oh my god, those babies balanced precariously on the back of the couch, I keep thinking one of them is going to get trapped between the couch and the wall and no one is going to notice.

      • Victoria

        He looks like he is lying – I honestly thought that before I knew who it was or the significance of this picture. So not only is he incompetent but he is also (likely) knowingly lying.

        • Is it lying? Or our old friend denial again? It must be very hard to accept that your actions have caused serious harm to another person so maybe self-deception and self justification just take over. Most negligence comes from misjudgement and over-confidence and then a tendency maybe to believe “I am not, cannot be, incompetent, I am being persecuted, and unjustly accused.” Wrap it all up in an ideology that would be very nice if it were not false, and martyrs for the cause are to be expected.

          That is why the systems of oversight and retribution in hospitals (and sometimes law courts) are so necessary.

          • Victoria

            My read on his face is that he is lying. My job required (but am SAHM right now) that I be able to read certain expressions and that is my impression here though this is just a picture and video or interaction would let me feel more confident in assessing it. Even liars can justify (to themselves) telling the lie though so denial could be regarding the repercussions of that lie.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            For pete’s sake, how can you claim he is lying? You don’t even know what he is talking about in that picture.

          • Victoria

            Bofa back off. I said it looked like it – I didn’t say he definitely is. I also said “likely” – I also said that is “my impression” and that it is “just a picture.” It is true I don’t know what he is talking about – I am accepting the tweet that accompanied the photo as explanation that he is explaining how he was stripped of his privileges because he supports physiologic birth. It it my impression from his expression and body language that he know he is telling something untrue. Even you said he looked like a sleazeball – what is a hallmark of a sleazeball? That they are not truthful perhaps?

      • Box of Salt

        Plus the arms of the baby in the poster behind him makes it look like he has horns.

        • KarenJJ

          LOL! That’s one unfortunate photo 🙂

    • GiddyUpGo123

      They *desperately* want to find a real OB who supports their cause, and I’m pretty sure most OBs who have not had multiple malpractice lawsuits filed against them won’t go anywhere near their cause. He’s the best they could find.

  • Mamatotwo

    Okay, after reading the court documents against him I have no idea how anyone could support what he is doing. So many of the complaints against him were due to botched surgeries (for those of you who didn’t read the docs, two involved removal of reproductive organs without consent, one was an induction at 33 weeks for non-existant pre-eclampsia for IVF twins that he didn’t test lung function for, one was for mesh failure and botched repair, one was pre-term labor of an intended homebirth that he prescribed medication to stop contractions for without ever seeing the patient, etc.) so of course he would be against hospital birth where his terrible surgical skills could be put to the test. (So, in essence, the NCB argument of OBs are just surgeons would actually win here?) Then, once he’s not allowed to deliver in a hospital due to the multiple infractions against him, he bullies someone into a homebirth (and subsequent death) only to further cover up his ineptitude.

    And people are defending him??!! The only human rights he seems concerned about are his own.

    • Because they don’t understand medicine? Or standards or protocols.

      • KarenJJ

        Or reading.

        • (Or Disqus, half the time…)

          • Victoria

            Well, I am not great lover of Disqus but at least I know it is Disqus and not Dr Amy delaying or apparently delaying my comments. As has been pointed out before – the NCB zealots are used to comment deleting and banning so they expect it. That alone should make them consider what kind of community they are dealing with.

    • Kalacirya

      They think it’s all some big conspiracy to put down those that believe in physiologic birth. I think these women have convinced themselves that the evidence against Biter was either biased or completely fabricated. Then you have those incapable of the most simple Internet searches, they may simply not believe that he’s in the hot water that he’s actually in. Over a month after Dr. Amy filed against TFB, TFB still had fans saying that it was Gina doing the suing, and not the other way around. As if this isn’t something that can be easily determined.

      • Staceyjw (Renee Martin)

        Oh, they know how to search, they just refuse to believe what they find, if they even read it at all. They have a tendency to ignore sources they don’t like, which in and of itself isn’t bad, We all have to be careful of our sources, but with pseudoscience and counterculture, it leads to things like this:

        An AVer actually asking for evidence, then saying “that link is .gov, so I’m not going to believe anything from any of those sources.”

        They really think any “official” body, of any type, is full of corruption and lies to the point everything they say is a lie. This includes scientists, since some work for grants or with big pharma, but also extends to the idea that the “establishment” goes on witch hunts for innocent CAM/HB practitioners.

        This mindset allows them to deny the entire body of scientific or factual evidence, and makes it impossible to even get on the same plane with them. Its more than simple confirmation bias.

        To help you better understand: You know when someone posts something from Natural News, and you just roll your eyes and know its not worth reading? This is the very same reaction they have to a medical board decision, facts they don’t like, and evidence.

        • KarenJJ

          I thinks it’s going to be impossible to change the minds of those that have closed their minds so decidedly to official sources of information. It can be funny to argue with them for a short time because they are generally full of opinion and short of information themselves, but like all blowhards patience does wear thin.

          The main advantage in the end is that others that are more open to opposing views and might, for example, think of choosing to hire Dr Biter can get a hint that there is another side to the story and go and have a look for themselves.

          • There have been two big changes in my lifetime. Now that women have other things to think about – education, careers etc, and reliable contraception means that they really do have more choices, they seem to have become very detached from babies and childbirth. The other is the internet. When I was pregnant, people like me turned to books, which were generally written by doctors. Not sure that they were that helpful, but I was not bombarded with nonsenses and I was fairly well informed about the downside of childbirth anyway from older girl friends and relatives. If everything you read is telling you that childbirth (and mothering) is natural and normal and bliss is easily achievable, why bother to think any further? Such a plausible fantasy.

            Scare stories and unpalatable facts are a bit of a problem – most women don’t need to concern themselves with such things. Ignoring them or being denied access to them while NCB is rampant in misinforming is also a problem. Something or someone has to counter the bilge that dominates the internet, and sow the odd seed of doubt that might save lives and misery

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    What’s truly shocking about the inclusion of Dr. Biter is that is demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that what these women believe to be at stake is their “right” to ignore any and all medical and safety standards.

    There is no possible way that anyone could believe that Dr. Biter was being persecuted for his support of physiological birth. He was disciplined because of multiple episodes of egregious malpractice; but because he supported them (it seems never to have occurred to them that he supported homebirth midwives precisely BECAUSE he was a negligent and unprofessional provider) they are supporting him.

    It’s a case of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” and if women and babies are hurt or killed along the way, that’s their own problem.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Is Biter the one that had sex with his patients, or is that Fischbein?

      I really have a hard time keeping up with the sleaze.

      • Renee Martin

        Fischbein is the one that has sex w patients.
        Biter is a menace, and kills babies.
        Both are a disgrace. But you don’t see THEIR profession inviting them to speak, or raising them money.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I think I get confused because for so long, I always assumed that “Dr Biter” was just people’s label for Fischbein based on his activities.

          • Laura

            Dr. Biter has practiced in San Diego – Encinitas to be exact. Dr. Fischbein had offices in Los Angeles and Carpinteria (about an
            hour outside of LA). Given that they both had practices in So Cal, it’s easy to get them confused. To my knowledge, though, Dr. Fischbein was not cited with any medical errors.

          • Susan

            Where did Fischbein deliver near Carpinteria? I thought he was in Thousand Oaks?

          • Susan

            I think you may have meant Camarillo, which is close to Thousand Oaks and the hospital that I believe he had the problems at.

          • Laura

            You’re right. Carpinteria is about 45 minutes further north on the 101 from Camarillo. In my mind the area is lumped together. I believe that he delivered at Cedars-Sinai here in LA,

          • Susan

            It looks like he worked at Cedars and Los Robles in Thousand Oaks. Weren’t they lucky!

          • Petanque

            Me too, I thought they were the same person!

        • Amazed

          “But you don’t see THEIR profession inviting them to speak, or raising them money”

          You see midwives inviting them to speak and raising them money, though. The idiots who donated directly to Biter’s personal account are kind of hard to forget.

          Keeping up with the title and idea of the conference, I suggest a new name for it – It Is a HUMAN RIGHT to Kill Your baby!

        • Kalacirya

          Fischbein lacks medical ethics, Biter lacks both ethics and skill. Both obviously lack good sense.

    • Captain Obvious

      Couldn’t his comments violate his probation? I mean, isn’t his probation partly to be accountable for his outcomes. And if he is denying his outcomes, then his license and privelges should be revoked.

      • Squillo

        See my comment below (I think he’s going to surrender his license rather than let the MBOC strip it). So at this point, he has nothing to lose. He’s never going to practice as a hospital-based OB again, and quite possibly never as a physician at all. His best hope is to continue to court homebirthers, either with an eye to practicing as a midwife (if the CA midwifery board will license him) or as some kind of pseudo-celebrity, much as Andrew Wakefield is doing. I’m sure there’s a book coming; donations don’t pay all the bills.

  • Squillo

    There are, as Amy says, 7 complaints (uncontested by Biter) filed with the MBOC, and an astounding 8 malpractice suits filed between 2005 and 2012, plus 1 small claims suit filed by a PR company. The mental gymnastics required to believe all of this is simply the result of other OBs not liking Biter’s support of “physiological birth” almost beggars imagination.

    • Victoria

      Perhaps, like most other things, they haven’t bothered to read the complaints and suits against him but rather, take his word for it that he is “persecuted” – is he on Sisters in Chains? Could he be the first male to make it onto that list? It’s good to have goals in life . . .

      • Bombshellrisa

        Yes, he’s mentioned on “Sisters in Chains”, but he’s not the only male. Dr Fischbein is also mentioned (Katie McCall worked with Dr Fishbein).

        • Victoria

          Ick. Also, I know it was kind of ironic for me to say something about not bothering to read the complaints against Biter and didn’t catch that Biter and Fischbein are both on the Sister (who should be) in Chains . . . thanks Bombshellrisa for clarifying!

          • Bombshellrisa

            Yuck, couldn’t believe it myself. The “sisterhood of baby killers”.

        • Sue

          For each “sister in chains” there appear to be Babies in Coffins. Ugh!

          • Victoria

            And noted with your plural – sometimes multiple babies. Horrific.

          • Yes, often a midwife who has been responsible for one death has a history of poor outcomes. This is especially true for the hardcore ideologists whether they think they are doing “God’s will” or promoting “natural birth”.

      • Sue

        Is he an “honorary sister”? LOL

  • Squillo

    My guess is that Biter will voluntarily surrender his license and claim it was taking the moral high ground because he didn’t want to practice according to “rules” set down by “The Man” (read: basic standards for clinical practice). That’s what he did when Scripps revoked then restored his privileges. It was a load of bullshit then, too.

    • Sue

      The LB tactic

  • Squillo

    You might also want to note that the disciplinary actions–including the pending one for the homebirth death–were originated from complaints filed by patients. NOT by the evil OB-medical-industrial complex or whoever it is Biter wants to blame for his misfortunes.

    • R T

      It should also be noted they were not all OB patients some GYN surgery cases! Not defending him but the above piece makes it sound like they were all OB patients and they is not correct!

      • Squillo

        Right. There are, IIRC, two OB cases. The fact that the others were gyn is further evidence that he isn’t being persecuted for “supporting physiological birth”; he’s being appropriately disciplined for providing poor and/or negligent care in general.

        • R T

          Agreed!

          • Amazed

            But they think his gyn failures have nothing to do with his persecution for practicing sympathetic spiritual un-obstetrics…

      • Sue

        Sort of patients a picture of general incompetence.

    • Sue

      The decision of the Medical Board of California can be read on their website (Discus won’t let me post the link). The charges against him include gross negligence for removing the wrong ovary for polycystic disease. He has been ordered to attend courses in prescribing practises, wrong site surgery, medical record keeping, medical professionalism (ethics), and clinical training. This is no victim of the brotherhood! Nice one to support, NCBers!

      • Disgusted

        Well Sue.
        Re the gross negligence for removing the wrong ovary.
        How do we know it was the wrong ovary? We don’t know, we weren’t there.
        The woman’s account will be presented in court UNDER OATH. People tend to tell a very different tale when put under oath with a penalty for perjury. Then, she will be strenuously cross-examined. Every word will be questioned.
        /sarcasm
        If Placenta Rowan is Martin Luther King then Dr Biter is most certainly Jesus.

  • areawomanpdx

    Disgusting. Truly. It really is about their “right” to work. Yes, every woman has the right to birth at home. No, not every woman (or man, in the case of Dr. Biter) has the right to call themselves a midwife. That is the crux of the issue.

  • S. C.

    I find it terribly sad that you are lumping *all* childbirth educators and doulas into one, ignorant group. As both a CBE and doula who presents science-based care, and as a mom, I advocate for informed consent – and that includes knowing that there are RISKS to homebirth and refusing medical interventions. Not all doulas or CBEs support homebirth or women making uneducated or propaganda-based decisions in the name of human rights. Imo, the baby also has rights – the right to a safe, healthy birth. There are doulas who strictly adhere to purely physical and emotional support of the mom and feel that the advocacy role is not theirs and should be removed from the description of what a doula does.

    • Victoria

      There are childbirth educators and doulas who contribute to the discussions here and realise that Dr Amy is talking about the childbirth educators and doulas who do not restrict themselves to speaking about what they know but instead venture into medical territory they have no right to speak on. Is it necessary to put a disclaimer on everything when looking through the site and the discussions it becomes obvious who Dr Amy is talking about?

    • areawomanpdx

      Well, I agree There *are* some doulas who advocate science based care. Including me. However, this is like the midwives saying, “Well, there are SOME lay midwives who really know what they’re doing.” Ya, it’s true, but they are few and far between. The vast, VAST majority are totally incompetent. From my experience in “birth worker” groups, the vast VAST majority of doulas are totally ignorant. I have learned that I have to delete emails that come through on my various doula lists without reading them, unless I feel like having my head explode.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I don’t even care whether it is the “vast majority” or not. We can all agree that there are way too many incompetent clowns running around passing themselves off as midwives and doulas and lactation consultants, even. If you are a midwife/doula/LC and are not among them, great. But quit complaining about the how people perceive the profession and do something to stop it. Throw the bums out. It starts with you admitting that your profession has a problem, and taking the responsibility to do something about it.

        Yes, I am tired of this crap.

      • Squillo

        I have to say that this site is the first place I’ve encountered any doulas who don’t make me want to run the other way. Before this, my only real exposure to them were the cringe-worthies on places like MDC and my cousin’s dangerous doula (who urged her to stay home as long as possible to increase her chances of a VBAC, and told her she was “nowhere near complete”, resulting in an ambulance ride and baby being born in the corridor of the hospital ED.)

        • Sue

          I don’t get how a doula is “science-based”. There is no science of being a support person – there is an art. That includes leaving the scientific aspects up to the mother/family and their provider, and being the helper. There is a role of the doula explaining how things normally go, but not for giving any sort of advice.

          I have a lot of respect for people with an attitude like Dani, but I don’t see that role as being a scientific one.

    • Mamatotwo

      I’m not really sure this post is lumping all childbirth educators and doulas into one ignorant group…how did you come up with that assumption based on what’s written in this post?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Once again, we get the poster who parachutes in with the “we aren’t all bad” defense.

      I don’t care.

      If there are really doulas who are doing it right, then great for them, but instead of getting all defensive and complaining about what Dr Amy says, you should be joining her to get rid of the morons.

    • Laura

      Susan, there is a doula and midwives, among many others, who comment here that don’t “lump” all CBE’s and doulas into one group. If you read the posts and comments long enough I think you’ll find a little more balance overall than what you are suggesting. I myself am very “open-minded” to a variety of opinions and practices but feel most comfortable with the more rigorous, scientific studies and what those results reveal time and time again. And although I don’t always agree with the posts or commenters here, I learn a lot and feel that I will be a better nurse and eventually (hopefully)a CNM one day.

    • Bystander

      There’s an Akan saying that one dirty finger stains the whole hand. An organisation that does not set standards, police its members and punish unprofessional behaviour besmirches and calls into question the practice of ALL its members.

      You say you don’t practice irresponsibly and I certainly hope that is the case — but if you didn’t, you’d face no censure. In that light, when the well-being and life of women and babies are at stake, it’s only fair and proper that you be lumped in with everyone else until you can show your clients otherwise.

      Better yet, advocate for enforceable professional standards!

    • The point is that there should never be UNCONDITIONAL support for anyone who calls themselves a doula, child birth educator, lactation specialist, midwife, CNM, OB or birth attendant.

      Support should always be conditional. Hey, she’s a CNM! I’m impressed she went through all that training and education – but if she’s like Muhlhan and taking on high risk patients for home births and providing terrifying incompetent care, then those three letters alone aren’t going to get her my respect and support.

      If midwives think that they should provide unconditional support to anyone who calls themselves a midwife and spouts the correct rhetoric while endangering the health and lives of women and babies, then they should have no complaints when they are lumped in with the dangerous and negligent among them.

    • suchende

      I know that not all doulas are ignorant. But the designation “doula” by itself does nothing to convince me that an individual is not ignorant. The credential alone does not convey any competency as a healthcare provider. If a doula is competent, it’s not due to their status as a doula.

      • Sue

        Right, suchende. The value of doulas should be for their skills in giving support, not healthcare advice.

        • Trying to Make Change

          That’s just it, I don’t give healthcare advice. I know my role as a doula is to not give any opinion and to purely support the woman in her decisions. I generally don’t even suggest places for her to go to get information except to say that she needs to read information from all sides and make a decision. When I have folks talk about BoBB, I make sure they understand that midwives in other countries cannot be compared to home birth midwives here…and all of the other bias info.

          Where the science comes in is as a childbirth educator and a doula trainer (when trying to knock over all of the sacred cows). I go over all of the pros and cons of everything and I stick to the science. Episiotomy? No longer routinely recommended AND there is a time and place for it! Your doc isn’t a bad doc if they cut one. Delayed cord clamping? Eh, nice benefits for premature babies but not really a big deal for full term babies.

          On that issue in particular, I have been trying to generate a critical discussion on one of the trainers boards I’m on that by using the Simkin delayed cord clamping video, we’re presenting inaccurate and misleading information. I’ve quoted sections from the textbook According to Nathan and Oski’s Hematology of Infancy and Childhood [With Expert Consult], Volume 1 (2009) which cites the same studies Simkin claims to have used but has clearly either misunderstood or is misrepresenting the information. So I say this, and I ask if we’re overhyping the benefits and using scare tactics when we use videos like the Simkin video. And I get nothing but a like to the Academic OBGYN’s videos on cord clamping but nothing else. It’s frustrating and maddening. I know there are other trainers like me who understand that much of what the NBC says is a complete misrepresentation of the research and many won’t speak out because they’re afraid. I’m tired of being afraid and I’m tired of not speaking up so I do it.

          Maybe that adds a bit more perspective. Maybe not. But I do care about making change whether some of you care about my opinion or perspective. Honestly, are folks like S.C. and I helpful because we are still involved and we are pointing out the flaws in their arguments to them. Do you think these people are going to listen to Dr. Amy? Hell to the no. But if I can open a few minds in each training, then maybe they’ll also work up the nerve to start openly questioning, too.

          • I’ll support evidence based whatevers, whoevers, whereevers.

            We need more of them. Mostly, we need them to be in leadership positions – and that seems to be the real hurdle IMO.

            I’m starting to feel like I’m asking birth workers to mutiny against their leaders, or boycott or start their own organizations… I don’t know, whatever works. Instead of working on making “normal birth” safer and more accessible, there are midwives framing breech births and HBACs as safe, all you need to do is spend a few hours at a workshop to learn how to handle them.

          • Susan

            It’s great you are working on opening minds. I agree too that very few of these people will listen to anything Dr. Amy has to say. If you can get a critical mass of people to allow questioning of natural birth sacred cows you could do a lot of good. Do what you think is right and speak your mind.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It’s great that you are working toward these ends, and absolutely we all support that, including Dr Amy.. As you’ve said, it is folks like you that need to do be doing it, because no one is going to listen to Dr. Amy. Shoot, tell US what WE can do to help. I’m glad to do what I can.

            Make no mistake, we know exactly that you are talking about. It is how we generally feel here, and wish more were doing things like that.

          • No-one in love with the pretty version of birth is going to listen – but they won’t listen to anyone who says things they don’t want to hear, no matter how honey soaked.

            It still needs to be said,over and over and loud and clear – because it seems to me that quite a few do hear, and want to hear, judging from comments.

            Trying To, I don’t understand why you feel you are unwelcome here. Far from it.

          • Siri

            And with all due respect (and I really mean that; you sound like someone I would respect and like), I think that if a doula should not spout NCB nonsense, she also should not fall into the opposite trap, namely that of NCB myth-busting. It is not a doula’s place to advise on cord clamping; it is not her job to clamp the cord, and it is for the midwife or OB to discuss the pros and cons of delayed clamping. A professional knows exactly what her remit is, and when to refer to another professional. If I were a doula, I would want a midwife and an OB’s seal of approval, to ensure that what I said and did would not conflict with their advice. Otherwise I’d be storing up future problems for women and their caregivers. But most doulas seem not to want to limit themselves in this manner, perhaps feeling it would make them subordinate to ‘real’ professionals. I apologise if this offends you; your contribution here is just as valid as anyone else’s.

      • Siri

        As a midwife, I left my personal opinions, beliefs and values at the door when entering my hospital. I was a professional, not a walking set of prejudices. The vast majority of doulas seem to me to bring their own agenda, and to seek to impose their own values on their clients AND on real professionals. Ignorant, arrogant, inappropriate, wilfully blind to their own limitations. At best an irritating presence, seeking to influence each clinical scenario in a highly annoying manner, at worst a menace and a barrier between a woman and her professional caregivers. I know there are good doulas out there, and I agree that those women would be a force for good in any setting. They are good people first, good doulas second.

    • Trying to Make Change

      I am a doula and CBE like S.C. In my community I am one of 30+ doulas, CBEs, and DEMs. As far as I can tell, I am pretty much the only one in my community actively speaking out against the NBC. I have spent hundreds of dollars of my own money doing in-services for nurses and doctors about the Scope of Practice a doula should be adhering to and providing them with information on how to file complaints about problem doulas. I am frequently responding to FB posts that give inaccurate or biased information with the FACTS. I am also a doula trainer and work my ass off to knock over all of the sacred cows the women who take my workshop come in with and replace them with real, solid, science-based information.

      I’ve been ostracized by many because I have been vocal. It is lonely and hard. Then I come here and read stuff that I completely agree with and I feel like I’ve finally found a place that I could have rational, reasonable discussion about all of these issues. Finally! I’m not the only one who sees it and gets it! And then I see how doulas and CBEs are talked about. Does Dr. Amy say “all doulas and CBEs”? No. And she doesn’t say “most” either. The “all” is implied. And when one of us who is ACTUALLY trying to make a difference speaks up and says “hey, please remember that we’re not all like this” she’s jumped on. Because those of us who are doing something to make REAL change aren’t jumped on enough in our community, now we get jumped on in the one that we thought would be a better, safer place for us. We are told to be quite when we critique the NBC and now we’re being told to be quite when we are asking to not be lumped in with the NBC because we’re not part of that community. Not only that but we’re told “I don’t care.” Really? You don’t care that we are trying to make a difference and don’t want to be lumped in with the others because WE’RE NOT LIKE THE OTHERS?

      So basically, there’s no place for me and S.C.. Once again I’m on my own trying to fight the fight that you all want but with no support. Thanks for letting me know I’m not wanted here, either.

      • Laura

        I’m glad you’re here, “Trying”! I would value your experiences and information on this blog. You have a lot to add here. There are some posters, a small handful, that are very harsh in some of their comments. I earnestly try not to be one of them. They, too, though, have some good things to say. The work you do is very hard, is greatly appreciated by many of us, and we would value your input.

        • Trying to Make Change

          Thank you.

        • Siri

          Remember, the harsh comments are in response to some pretty harsh truths. Sometimes harshness is called for and entirely justified. There is so much glossing-over being done, so many apologists for the terrible injustices perpetrated upon innocents, and I for one find a modicum of harshness very refreshing.

      • Susan

        I think what you are doing is great. I’d love to meet doulas like you in person. I don’t think Dr. Amy meant “all” doulas either. You obviously would be a great contributor please consider chiming in with your perspective!

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          If Dr Amy said that she had great respect for soldiers in the US military, would anyone think it would be necessary for her to clarify that she doesn’t think there are any bad soldiers anywhere? Of course not.

          Similarly, when she says “OBs do X” she doesn’t have to clarify that of course there are some OBs out there (see this post) that are absolutely dangerous.

          But as soon as she says, “Doulas and CPMs are idiots” we get all these people saying how she’s unfair to those that aren’t.
          You don’t need all of the members of a profession to be idiots for the profession to be royally fucked up, and that is what is going on with doulas and CPMs. It is not unfair to characterize the professio that way, and doing so is no more of an indictment against every single member than saying that OBs are great excuses the actions of Biter.

        • Trying to Make Change

          Thank you. Believe me, I would love to meet others like me in person, too!

          • Victoria

            There you go, you know you are in the minority so you know that when people say “doulas” they mean the majority of the job – people who take a 16 hour class and think they are qualified to talk about the medical facets of childbirth – particularly how to avoid “unecessary interventions.” I have met only one like you in person. My doula thankfully – there for both cesarean births. Zero judgement (or medical advice) and lots of support. I am glad you are doing the same – and trying to help others see what their real – and often very important – role is.

      • auntbea

        There are a number of doulas who post here regularly. As well as CNMs and lactation consultants.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Absolutely, and they contribute a lot to the discussions. And they don’t spend their whole time complaining about how they aren’t the bad ones.

  • Susan

    Dumbfounding and scary. These people really have no self insight at all.

  • Laura

    It is unthinkable to me that the sponsors of this conference wouldn’t acquaint themselves with what this doctor has done. The unbiased, factual account is free and readily available on the California Medical Board website. I’m too lazy to post the info here, but it is EASILY found. The documents, in their unemotional, blow by blow way are simply horrifying.

    • Squillo

      I suspect they know but don’t care because, like Stuart Fischbein, he’s one of the few MDs who publicly supports for homebirth. He’s also supposedly considering getting licensed as a midwife in CA–presumably because his career as a physician is over.

      • Renee Martin

        For all their talk about sisterhood, the man keeping them down, and how bad OBs are, they sure do embrace paternalistic, MALE, OBs who have committed negligence against women and babies.

        They may pretend OBs don’t matter, but they so desperately want to have them associated with HB, they jump at anyone that gives them attention. Pretty telling that only disgraced OBs will participate with them.

        • Squillo

          And for all their talk about not “just accepting what your OB says,” it sure seems like they’re taking Biter on his word. Either that, or they simply choose to ignore the overwhelming evidence that he is one of those incompetent doctors they like to tell people are lurking around every corner in the hospital.

          How very empowering.

      • areawomanpdx

        If you can get a midwifery license after losing another professional license for malpractice…well, I guess I wouldn’t be surprised. But, shit.

  • Claire

    Does anyone know who the two women in the picture are?

    • manabanana

      The one on the right looks like Betty-Anne Daviss.

    • manabanana

      A link to bios of the panelists with this qualification:

      “NOTE: We are leaving the names and jurisdictions of our birth
      professional panelists anonymous, out of a desire to protect them from
      media slander and personal attacks. Their identities, of course, will
      be revealed at the conference.”

      http://www.humanrightsinchildbirth.com/hric-conferences/future-hric-conferences/eugene-oregon-2013

      • Victoria

        Geez. Such an important human rights conference that they have to hide their indentities. Eddie’s comment about the (self) importance felt in persecution really resonates here.

        • Bombshellrisa

          http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/68156/Human-Rights-In-Childbirth-Summit
          Of course, reading the twitter feed, not sure everyone got that memo about being anonymous. Marcine Rebeck’s attorney was a panelist (the midwife who has the cookbook fundraiser). Also, Darjee Sahala was mentioned as being persecuted (investigated for her own stillbirth).

          • manabanana

            http://www.mommatraumablog.com/1/post/2013/04/midwives-tell-stories-of-home-invasions-handcuffs-jailtime.html

            Coupla more blog posts like this one and it shouldn’t be hard to get a complete list of the ‘anonymous’ panelists.

          • Jan Tritten is there and I do believe our favorite canadian “midwife” Lemay.

          • Bombshellrisa

            *side note* Bambi, listening to you on the video from yesterday reduced me to tears. Thank you for sharing your story.

          • Thank you.

          • Squillo

            The homebirth brain trust.

          • pinkyrn

            Squillo! Nice to see you are still around.

          • Renee Martin

            Another telling thing- they hid who was involved in their little event.

          • Bombshellrisa

            “@birthofalawyer #HRiCSummit provider liabilityinsurance is a major barrier to legal practice for CNM”
            All those regulations, I JUST WANNA CATCH BAYBEESSSS!!!!

            Noticed Katie McCall was mentioned again. She wasn’t prosecuted BECAUSE she delivered a baby as a student. She was prosecuted because she administered a drug that she shouldn’t have had and sutured a tear (badly) as a student without her preceptor there. That is the issue.

    • manabanana

      The one in the middle looks like Marcene Rebeck.