Why is Human Rights in Childbirth protecting the doctor in the so-called “Forced Episiotomy” video?

Portrait of doctor holding paper with question mark

On Wednesday I wrote about the latest meme to sweep the natural childbirth industry: obstetric violence.

Kim Lock, writing in Australia’s Daily Life, described a horrifying video:

…Earlier this year in California, during the birth of her baby, ‘Kelly’ has an episiotomy cut against her will. Human Rights in Childbirth shows Kelly, who had earlier disclosed to staff she had been raped twice in her life, flat on her back with her legs up in stirrups. Kelly clearly begs, “No, don’t cut me.” Despite her repeated protestations, and without any urgent medical reason, she is belittled by the doctor before he makes 12 cuts to her perineum.

I went to the website where the video is featured on its own page, Forced Episiotomy: Kelly’s Story.

Imagine my surprise to learn that Human Rights in Childbirth is protecting the doctor by refusing to reveal his identity!

The obvious question is WHY?

I had no reason to doubt the veracity of the video before I saw it. No one knows better than a physician that there are incompetent, negligent providers committing malpractice. There are multiple ways to rein them in: peer review, hospital discipline, the state Medical Board, and malpractice suits among others. I assumed it was going to show someone behaving negligently, if not committing outright malpractice. I assumed it was just another classic technique in the armamentarium of the natural childbirth industry (“Big Birth”): take an episode of malpractice and scare women by insisting that it is standard practice, widely embraced by obstetricians.

Now, having seen it, I’m not so sure it is real. The identity of all participants is deliberately blurred. You cannot tell if what you are hearing on the audio portion (and seeing in the captions) is actually being said by the people in the video. It is entirely possible that the audio portion was fabricated to make it look like it was a forced episiotomy when it was nothing of the kind.

That supposition is reinforced by the fact that Human Rights in Childbirth, after describing the violation in incredibly brutal detail is protecting the identity of the doctor who purportedly committed the brutal act. They expend nearly 3500 words discussing the video, and not one of those words reveals the identity of the doctor or the hospital where the incident took place.

Human Rights In Childbirth thinks this video has spectacular propaganda value. So why are they hiding the identity of the doctor and the hospital? If this really happened the way they say it happened, and if the audio is real and not added later, why are they afraid to show the doctor’s face or publicly identify him? If the doctor truly did what they accuse him of doing, why aren’t they publicly exposing him?

Why aren’t they shouting his name from the rooftops, challenging the hospital to discipline him and the Board of Medicine in his state to investigate him? Don’t they want to protect other women from this supposed violation?

Apparently they are afraid that they would be sued, yet why would they be sued if the situation is what they represent it to be? They wouldn’t.

The video shows a doctor who at the very least needs remedial training. He cut an episiotomy much too early and his “technique” was dreadful.

So why is Human Rights in Childbirth protecting HIM?

126 Responses to “Why is Human Rights in Childbirth protecting the doctor in the so-called “Forced Episiotomy” video?”

  1. unctuwoman
    November 12, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

    I’m confused as to why people think they’re protecting him and not protecting themselves from lawsuit. It is INCREDIBLY difficult to find a lawyer who will prosecute a physician for assault and battery, which this would certainly fit. She did, in fact, sue and she won. She could not sue for assault because she’s smart and that is too hard to win. She sued and won for wrongful advertisement. The hospital markets their birth as a natural experience, and obviously, it was not. She made bank. But she can’t accuse him of battery and not sue him for that. She can’t sue because no lawyer will take the case (I am writing a research paper on this for my doctorate, I have spoken with many lawyers about this.) From what I have learned, it is perfectly reasonable to blur the physician and punish him by punishing the hospital and having them punish him. I do hope that she filed a claim with the medical board, as well. Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t. I don’t know.

  2. Jami
    October 9, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

    This video is all over the internet. How is if that no one has recognized the facility, nurse or doctor’s voice? I just seems like it shouldn’t be that difficult to figure out where this took place. This lady Hermine is complicit in this horrific act by protecting this doctor’s identity. Why?

    I don’t get this whole thing. It makes no sense to release a video like this and not want to do anything about it.

  3. Amy Tuteur, MD
    October 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Now Hermine has removed Facebook comments and banned the questioners. Apparently “human rights” in childbirth doesn’t include free speech.

    • Amazed
      October 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      Aww, Dr Amy, that ain’t fair. It’s the Human Rights in Childbirth, not Human Rights in Truth.

      Come to think of it, some of the commenters she banned might be pregnant. Would their human rights still be infringed on? It’s Human Rights in Childbirth, not Human Rights in Pregnancy…

      My head hurts of thinking so hard.

  4. Sally RNC-NIC
    October 4, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    This is kind of interesting. Same information, same author. Only 11 comments, but most of them point out the flaws of her message. https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/hermine-hayesklein/forced-episiotomy-kelly's-story

    • attitude devant
      October 4, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      So I commented. These people are the worst kind of hypocrite. Wringing their hands while they do nothing.

      • Sally RNC-NIC
        October 4, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

        Solid work.
        Oh, and the original video is on YouTube. That’s where Hermine found her. So much for “this private family video was sent to us…”

        • attitude devant
          October 4, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

          well that fits with a commenter below’s account.Says the video had been on a YouTube channel along with a bunch of other videos of (apparently) the same family caring for the baby. Baths, etc.

          • Sally RNC-NIC
            October 4, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

            Ambulance chasers….

          • attitude devant
            October 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm #


          • auntbea
            October 5, 2014 at 9:17 am #

            So in other words, they may not be releasing the name of the doctor because they don’t know his name any more than anyone else?

          • attitude devant
            October 5, 2014 at 11:09 am #

            I think they know, but they’re not actually interested in obtaining redress. They probably got her permission, maybe even paid for it, to use the video. They are not interested in actual action against the doctor because the entire organization is a sham. Look at the FB page. There’s a recent post about women’s reproductive rights in Ireland, where a woman actually died from lack of access to medically appropriate pregnancy termination. So I thought, “Hey, I can get behind this!”, but it actually turns out to be a story about a deregistered midwife. My jaw literally dropped.

            If you look into Hermine’s activities, she is part of the movement to stop accountability…errr…persecution of midwives.

            In other words, the whole thing is a sham. It’s pro-homebirth midwives dressed as women’s rights. I wish that midwives supported women’s rights, but midwives are all about supporting midwives.

  5. attitude devant
    October 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

    Well, well, well. HRiC has deleted all the comments from their blog. Looks like they realized that our repeated offers to actually help Kelly didn’t look too good. Hypocrites.

    • Sally RNC-NIC
      October 4, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      What a jip.

      • Dr Kitty
        October 5, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

        Sally, spelling it “jip” doesn’t stop it from being a derogatory slur against Roma and Travellers. To “gyp” someone implies to cheat them like a “gypsy”.
        I’m sure that was never your intent, and not something you were aware of.

        • Sally RNC-NIC
          October 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

          Had not a clue. Thanks for telling me. I will probably delete it – because, I honestly had no idea. I wonder why I had no idea. Interesting. Thanks for telling me!

    • Young CC Prof
      October 4, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

      The next time this blog posts a story describing a home birth midwife violating a woman’s rights, I expect offers to help her get justice from the homebirth-promoting crowd. Right? I mean, it’s only fair.

      • Bombshellrisa
        October 4, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

        They should also bombard their state Capitol with signs, hold cookbook fund raisers, set up go fund me sites to cover any expenses and crowd source on Facebook how best to support and help the woman. Oh wait, they only do that for midwives who maim and kill.

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
      October 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

      It’s called, “folding when someone calls your bluff.”

  6. lawyer jane
    October 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    One possibility is that the doctor has ALREADY settled a lawsuit or threatened lawsuit with the woman, so they are trying to avoid breaching a confidentiality agreement. Either that or the doctor has threatened a defamation suit. I think there are credible reasons for them to obscure his identity.

    • attitude devant
      October 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

      Oh I can think of reasons, but I can’t think of any reasons that make HRiC look anything other than opportunistic and disingenuous.

    • Squillo
      October 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      Both of which would be useful bits of information–just an acknowledgement that there was a settlement or a threat of legal action.

  7. Amazed
    October 4, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    Wow, I’ve got a threat for you. From the Forced Episiotomy site linked to in the post. Our very own Hermine H-K has this to say:

    Sally Carey Hathaway and visitors from Dr. Amy’s anti-homebirth blog,
    what is strange is that you are offering to “help” Kelly– but you also
    assert that she had no right to say no and have that no respected. What
    she wants him to stop doing is cutting women over their non-consent.
    How could you help put a stop to that if you don’t think she had a right
    to say no? That’s more important to her than your opinion over the
    “technique” with which he violated her.

    Haha. I don’t like to watch worms squirm in real life but Hermine makes a damned funny sight.

    • attitude devant
      October 4, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      I don’t see any commenters on that thread saying that Kelly had no right to say no. Who has ever said that anywhere?

      And LOL, someone’s asking if she doesn’t know that medical boards exist to discipline doctors, maybe because the midwifery Board in Oregon fails to require accountability from the midwives? LOL forever.

      • Guesteleh
        October 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

        Actually, a nurse who also comments here said that doctors don’t need informed consent to perform an episiotomy. Which is disturbing and feeds right into their narrative.

        • attitude devant
          October 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

          Oh dear. Now I see that. I don’t think that’s true. Even if the consent signed at admission included epis, the mom revokes that when she says no while he does it.

          • Sally RNC-NIC
            October 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

            I messed up there and I admitted it. I certainly didn’t mean no consent was required, I just thought it fell under consent to treat, which I never should have said in the first place because it did sound like I didn’t respect her right to say no. Which is not true. I did my best to communicate that later in the post. I absolutely find the whole situation horrifying.

          • attitude devant
            October 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

            Don’t beat yourself up too much. To your legal point , no, any consent was revoked by her at the time. As for the rest they have amply shown they are not about action. Just a meme, not a movement.

          • Sally RNC-NIC
            October 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

            Thanks for understanding. I feel really bad. I totally didn’t mean to sound like an ass or suggest she didn’t have to provide consent. I think that was early on and I was super fired up so I didn’t “use my words” to elaborate my thoughts. That’s why I shouldn’t contribute when I’m feeling emotional. I’m gonna just peace-out on the whole conversation at this point.

          • attitude devant
            October 4, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

            No worries, Sal. She deleted everything.

          • Sally RNC-NIC
            October 4, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

            Seriously? Wow. I wasn’t planning on going back to the forum, but maybe I’ll take a tiny peek.

          • attitude devant
            October 4, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

            yep. Everything’s gone.

          • Sally RNC-NIC
            October 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

            Oh wow. You mean like, everything. Holy cow.

          • Amazed
            October 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

            OK, you messed up, you admitted it. That leaves our dear friend H. H.-K. with exactly zero support for the thesis we’re all monsters. Far be it from her to let that stop her. Of course!

        • Amazed
          October 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

          Very disturbing, now that I see it. But it’s a single person. The vast majority of posters here were outraged.

        • Sally RNC-NIC
          October 4, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

          That was my bad. I later went back to say I understood an episiotomy to be under consent to treat and I in no way meant that her saying no shouldn’t have been respected. I definitely didn’t mean that, and I definitely apologized and tried to clear that up.

    • moto_librarian
      October 4, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      Of course she had the right to refuse! That is why we want to see this doctor held accountable!

    • Sullivan ThePoop
      October 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

      Typical, build a strawman to tear down when you have nothing else

    • wookie130
      October 4, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      Oh, for Pete’s sake, no one asserted any such thing…when did anyone ever say she didn’t have a right to say no? I would like for Hermine to point out who said this, and precisely what was said that indicated that any of us stated she had no right to refuse the cutting.

  8. attitude devant
    October 4, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    Just spent a jaw-dropping quarter-hour perusing the HRiC website, paying close attention to the staff roster. Guess who are listed among Advisors? Ina May and Robbie Davis-Floyd. The Coordinators are some international lawyers (and yet no legal help seems to be available for Kelly?), but we hit true pay dirt in the staff directory where the website manager turns out to be a Bastyr-trained homebirth midwife and former student of Missy Cheyney. As someone has observed on their FB page, this is the same Missy Cheyney whose idea of human rights in childbirth has been to actively cover up the death rate of babies born at home, particularly in Oregon where Missy was chair of the midwifery board.

    • attitude devant
      October 4, 2014 at 10:39 am #

      Aaaaannnnnddd now I’m having a total blast surfing around filling in Hermine Hayes-Klein’s CV. Do you know that she’s an activist lawyer involved in the fight against prosecution, errrr, persecution of midwives? And that she has is on the roster of writers for Midwifery Today? She lives in Portland, Oregon. Of course she does.

      • Amazed
        October 4, 2014 at 10:47 am #

        I smelled rat the moment I saw the story on… Danielle Yeager’s page. I kid you not, a poster was berating Danielle for not being considerate of “Kelly’s” pain. A lot of babies die, she said. That did not give Danielle the right to be heartless to those women.

        I wish I could say I was stunned. I was not, though. Human Right in Childbirth, my ass. Karen JJ, Adelaide GP, can we borrow your court for the just cause?

        • attitude devant
          October 4, 2014 at 10:49 am #

          Wow. I am shocked. And here I thought I had lost the capacity to be shocked.

        • October 4, 2014 at 11:03 am #

          Omg, THIS is what that horrid commenter was on about?

          • Amazed
            October 4, 2014 at 11:50 am #

            Well, what did you THINK she was about? Surely not about such a tiny thing as a baby who had died a preventable death? Clearly violating someone’s NON-consent, even when no one died and the poor patient recovered is a huge thing compared to, say, being lied to and having a c-section that ended with a dead baby anyway. A lot of babies die, after all.

            Poor, poor Kq *pats you on the pretty little head* You’re going to learn.

    • Bombshellrisa
      October 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

      The Bastyr trained midwife who is now “teaching herself computer programming”? I did see one OB who was listed as a consultant, but it’s a UK OB. I also saw that Hermione Hayes-Klein had her babies with Dutch midwives and that at least two of the staff members felt they were subjected to unnecessary interventions during hospital births. Noticed they also consult with a Robin Lim. Yuck

      • attitude devant
        October 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

        Yup, that’s the one. Amy Rae Zimmerman. Missy Cheyney teaches anthropology at OSU where this chick got her anthroogy degree and became so enamored of all things Birth that she went to Bastyr.

        • Bombshellrisa
          October 4, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

          Of course she did, where instructors like Valerie Sasson and Ali Tromblay waxed poetic about how safe and natural birth is and made sure she knew to fill the birthing tub and light the candles. Woo world.

          • attitude devant
            October 4, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

            Looks like she dropped out in her last year.

  9. Sally RNC-NIC
    October 4, 2014 at 2:03 am #

    Pinot and I are trying hard to fight the good fight. Feel free to help a sister out at: http://humanrightsinchildbirth.com/kellys-story/?fb_comment_id=fbc_815634075134455_822725467758649_822725467758649. “Likes” accepted!

    • attitude devant
      October 4, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

      It’s all deleted.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        October 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

        Deleting comments = consciousness of guilt.

        Hermine knows that protecting the identity of the doctor in the video and failing to report him to the Board of Medicine are both indefensible. So rather than trying to defend her actions she figures she can protect the reputation of HRiC by hiding evidence of her indefensible actions. She’s wrong, of course.

  10. Jenny
    October 3, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    Maybe they don’t reveal the name of the doctor or hospital because it happened in a foreign country and natural childbirth advocates want to pretend it happened in California??

    • yarnbarf
      October 4, 2014 at 4:08 am #

      The mom is speaking American-accented English and the doctor is speaking English, though I can’t identify his accent. That doesn’t mean it took place in the US, though, and I still don’t get what the “go back to Kentucky” thing was about.

  11. KarenJJ
    October 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    So the Human Rights in Childbirth has some video footage of what looks like Human Rights in Childbirth being violated and they are doing… what exactly? Whining? Showing how much of a victim women can be? How empowered of them… What a useful organisation..

    • Sue
      October 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

      and posted on an Aus site, though clearly circulated from the US, with involving apparently a Latin background family.

      This is not about human rights – it’s about smearing.

      • KarenJJ
        October 5, 2014 at 2:43 am #

        Hi and welcome to the Human Right in Childbirth organisation. We fight for human rights in childbirth, but only in really passive aggressive ways.

  12. guest
    October 3, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

    I agree with what people down below have said: I don’t think it is staged, but they won’t release the location or names because then they lose control of it. In fact, it’s pretty consistent with everything natural childbirth advocates do. They don’t trust the system to monitor doctors and punish those who commit malpractice any more than they trust doctors to deliver their babies. Combine this with the fear that the system might actually work, and this bad doctor might be punished and that others might realize that this is not standard practice. The result of not releasing the information may be that this doctor faces no consequences, but they’re okay with that, because once people see this video they too will realize that all doctors and hospitals are horrible anyway. They simply don’t want to give up the propaganda. Whaddya know…natural childbirth advocates disregarding ethics when it suits their purposes…

    • Anj Fabian
      October 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      My guess is that it happened in Cincinnati. Covington KY is just across the river and is essentially a low rent suburb of the Ohio city.

      It has one small hospital compared to Cincinnati’s multiple larger hospitals.

  13. Amazed
    October 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Hey, what’s going on with this page? I have two posts disappear already.

    • Anj Fabian
      October 3, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

      Disqus acts up occasionally. Reload the page.

    • attitude devant
      October 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

      Maybe it’s because our little friend Hermine is deleting her posts?

      • Amazed
        October 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

        I don’t think so. One of my comments was a reply to tony’s. The other one was not in a thread, I think.

        Reloading didn’t help.

        I guess I might have posted under a post of Hermine’s, though. But hardly both times.

        Anyway, I’ll repeat the gist of both posts: I don’t believe that “Kelly” couldn’t obtain legal services. What, Improving Birth, HRiC, and MANA didn’t offer any other help but post the video for their agenda? Why is that? Maybe because the good doc is already facing the consequences of having both lacking skills and oversized ego?

  14. CrownedMedwife
    October 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    Utterly appalled and thoroughly disgusted, not just to the actions in this video, but the willingness of organizations that proceed under the guise of HRiC and Improving Birth to utilize this woman’s experience to impact your own agenda without any identifiable intent for resolution or retribution. As if the actions of this provider weren’t sickening enough, the NCB seeks to play on the fears of women and promulgate such actions as common practice in modern obstetrics. Both sides of this are just horrendous.

    Shame on you Ms. Hayes-Klein, with your legal knowledge, expertise and Human Rights contentions for not using your background and networks to call out this provider as a lone wolf, a predator at best, as being outside the accepted practice of Obstetrics and without a call to action against it.

    • moto_librarian
      October 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

      The second that I learned that Ms. Hayes-Klein was an attorney was when this whole situation started to stink quite badly. The NCBers constantly bitch and moan about how horrible hospitals and OBs are, yet when they have what appears to be video evidence, do nothing to report the bad actor! If anyone involved in this disgusting scenario actually cares about what happened to this woman, publicize the name of the doctor and the hospital that he practices at!

  15. Ellen Mary
    October 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    ‘This exchange reflects the reality that many women face in maternity care today, that their only option for supported physiological birth, or even birth without cutting, is home birth. For this reason alone, all women should be invested in ensuring that home birth is a safe and legal healthcare choice, instead of an illegitimate and underground last-ditch option.’

    This really doesn’t actually follow even though they think it does . . . Actually, safe & respectful birth should be available in the hospital and the way to help the majority of women or ‘improve birth’ is to ensure that women get great care there . . .

  16. Ellen Mary
    October 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    I hope they answer you . . . On a side note, that video may be the BEST ad for RCS I have ever, ever seen. I want to try a hospital VBAC because of the unacceptable unsafe nature of HBAC, but I would have a Cesarean rather than push in that position, honestly. Or then have that done to my Perineum . . . I guess that is how my first son was delivered, what is the logic for that again? I am inwardly so thankful that I go lucky enough have a birth that was NOT like that & everyone survived, there has to be a better way than the birth depicted in that video . . .

    • moto_librarian
      October 3, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

      Ellen Mary, very few women have had birth experiences like this in recent memory. This doctor is a bad actor, and he absolutely deserves to be punished for it, but this is in no way indicative of normal hospital practice. That the NCB movement is co-opting this to further their claims that all hospital births are like this should disgust you as much as it does me.

      I don’t understand what you mean when you say “that is how my first son was delivered,” since you then say, “I am inwardly so thankful that I go [sic] lucky enough to have a birth that was NOT like that & everyone survived.” Are you upset that you delivered on your back or in a semi-reclined position? Because both of my children were delivered semi-reclined because it was the only effective pushing position for me even when I went unmedicated.

      • Ellen Mary
        October 3, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

        My first son was Vacuum Extracted. I wound up on my back because I was exhausted & on too much Nubain. I didn’t have my body folded in half though. My second son was born with a HomeBirth OB . . . My third was Cesarean. Just sharing to clarify. I wouldn’t do the OOH Birth again (it wasn’t my home, I rented an Apt near a superbig hospital), but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t more palatable, private, dignified, etc. I only get to say that because my baby came out easily & was healthy of course, but I guess I have a visceral reaction to seeing women in that situation . . . Does anyone have the link as to why that is necessary?

  17. staceyjw
    October 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    How can anyone defend this?

    • mythsayer
      October 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

      Nobody is? Everyone has said that if the video accurately displays what actually occurred it’s unacceptable.

      Some people are questioning the video’s veracity because of the refusal to name the doctor or hospital.

      • toni
        October 3, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

        But there are so many other more plausible explanations for that. Lots of people aren’t sure of the legal ramifications of naming people in these situations (girls have got in trouble at college for naming their rapists for example) and of publishing video of people without their consent or what you can say during an ongoing investigation so they will err on the side of caution. I know I would. dr amy is married to an attorney, she can’t expect others to know as much as she does about this stuff.

        • toni
          October 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

          As in the mother might not know. ‘HRiC’ should be familiar with the law regarding, well, ‘human rights in childbirth’ and how to get justice for mistreated women. Doesn’t seem like they are that interested in helping her, though if Ms Hayes-Klein comes back I would like to be set straight on that. Otherwise it just seems they are using the video for their own selfish reasons and so they can publish snide articles about mainstream maternity care

          • mythsayer
            October 3, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

            The woman who had a forced CS named the hospital and maybe even the doctor, I believe.

            You bring up a good point, though. Is “Kelly” aware that her video is being used? If yes, then I have to assume SHE is the one who is not naming the doctor. She’s supposedly looking for an attorney… so why hasn’t she popped up to say she’s made a complaint against the doctor? I think even that would lessen the suspicions. But she’s not around… so it DOES seem, to some people, that this video is just being used to scare people and imply that all OB’s are bad…. or at least that enough of them are that you’d have a good chance of having this happen to you.

          • toni
            October 3, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

            Well yeah it is being used for that purpose unfortunately, doesn’t mean it’s not real. I mentioned previously that when I first saw this video almost a year ago i think it was under a different youtube profile/channel because there were a bunch of other videos uploaded of the woman with her baby boy at about three months old, bathing him and such. she was also answering commenters questions underneath the birth video about what happened and what she was doing about it. Can’t remember what she said exactly but sounded like it wasn’t going well. Probably why she approached this group and now they have commandeered the evidence.

          • Sara
            October 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

            Yes, this. I would like to see HRiC follow up in a more meaningful way other than distributing stories meant to scare people away from hospitals and promote homebirth as some urgently needed response to bad behavior in the hospitals. If they want to frame the organization as a useful resource for women, then the focus would be mobilizing to improve care, not to spread propaganda.

  18. Amy
    October 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    I saw this video posted on Facebook via the Improving Birth page. I think it is a real video, but as far as I can tell Improving Birth doesn’t appear to do anything tangible to help women. Ultimately, Improving Birth’s goal is to increase homebirths. Helping to improve a particular hospital or prosecuting a particular doctor is not their goal. Their goals are better served by parading this video around and continuing to support the victim mentality.

  19. Hermine Hayes-Klein
    October 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    Dear Dr. Amy, it is heartening to read your assessment of this video as “incompetent and negligent.” Perhaps you would be willing to serve as an expert witness if and when “Kelly” finds a California lawyer willing to bring a case for damages and redress. Amy, your voice has great value in the maternity care debate. Would you write some more about what you think the doctor could have done differently in that video? Do you think he violated her right of informed consent and refusal? Please comment.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      October 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      I’d be happy to serve as an expert witness. Moreover, I’d be happy to assist in finding a lawyer who would take the case; my husband is a trial lawyer. Just tell me: in what hospital and state did this take place? Who is the doctor in the video? Has any complaint of any kind been filed against him? Feel free to contact me at DrAmy5 at aol dot com.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        October 3, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

        Ms. Hayes-Klein seems to have disappeared, but she is still posting on the HRiC Facebook page, offering the bizarre excuse that they won’t identify the doctor because they don’t want to engage in a “witch hunt.” How about their obligation to protect the public? Apparently they don’t care.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          October 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

          Here’s the exchange:

          • auntbea
            October 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

            Yep. Medicine assumes consent isn’t necessary. Which explains all those consent forms. And the bioethicists at every hospital. Oh! And also how malpractice isn’t a thing and no doctors ever gets sued. It’s the wild, wild West out there and the doctors are loving their freedom to do whatever they want.

          • Kelly
            October 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

            Don’t they always complain that doctors are afraid of lawsuits and that is why they do C-sections at the first sign of trouble? They love to have it both ways.

          • Sue
            October 3, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

            They didn’t have permission to circulate the video, so they blur the faces, but EXPOSE THIS POOR WOMAN’S PERINEUM TO THE WORLD?? Ugh!

          • yarnbarf
            October 4, 2014 at 4:42 am #

            The mother is the one who posted the video online originally and apparently shared it with them. She gave permission to show her own perineum and face, but not the faces of the doctor, nurse, and anyone else whose face was blurred.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          October 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

          You can find the discussion here:


        • CrownedMedwife
          October 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

          This may be obvious, but I feel the need to point out the irony.

          An Obstetrician practices and behaves atrociously, SOB’s and NCB’s both revolt in protest and disdain for the behavior. SOB’s offer legal services, course of action and call for identification and reprimand. NCB’s use it as their platform, with no perceivable intent to take action.

          A CPM practices and behaves atrociously, SOB’s revolt in protest and disdain for behavior. SOB’s call for prosecution and legal recourse. NCB’s hide identities or circumstances and establish Fund Raising pages claiming unjust persecution.

          Why is it Modern Obstetrics is willing to call it like it is while NCB hides head in sand. Which group is REALLY looking out for the well-being of Human Rights in Childbirth?

          • toni
            October 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

            Hear, hear.

            Featured comment?

        • Ellen Mary
          October 4, 2014 at 12:39 am #

          Actually, if your theory is correct, that a hospital would have been willing to pay out to keep this silent, doesn’t their publicity remove that incentive, thereby ensuring that no one wants to take the case?

    • Amy
      October 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      What is with all the dirty deletes, Hermine?

      • Guest
        October 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

        Ah a brief perusal of her on Google comes across an image of her with the likes of Jan Tritten, little more needs to be said.

        • moto_librarian
          October 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

          Perhaps Ms. Hayes-Klein would like to consider taking on Gavin Michael’s case? Maybe she would be willing to sue Jan Tritten and Midwifery Today for their role in his death? Doesn’t that tragedy fall under the category of “improving birth?”

        • Amy
          October 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

          She made some idiotic comment comparing My criticism of Improving Birth to Planned Parenthood..it made absolutely no sense. There was also a bizarre diatribe which I only saw briefly then it disappeared.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      October 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

      Just as an aside, I must point out that by asking me to be an expert witness on obstetric care, Hermine Hayes-Klein has publicly acknowledged that I am an expert in obstetric care.

      • attitude devant
        October 3, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

        Duly noted! I agree that you are an expert in obstetric care.

    • TsuDhoNimh
      October 4, 2014 at 11:25 am #

      Hermine – If you are an attorney, you can request pro hac vice status for this case. All it would take is a CA attorney to make the request for you. It’s not guaranteed, but few requests are turned down.


  20. Mariana Baca
    October 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    could there have been some sort of NDA as part of a out of court settlement? Thus why they could be sued?

    • mythsayer
      October 3, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

      Unlikely at this point. If there were, she wouldn’t still need an attorney.

  21. Amy M
    October 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Do most/many hospitals allow filming in the delivery room? I remember my husband had a camera, to take photos of the babies, and they were down with that, but I don’t recall the policy about filming.

    If this movie was a fake, how would they have made it? Stolen footage from some random birth with a terrible episiotomy, and added their own sound track?

    • toni
      October 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

      Some do. Fewer and fewer though. I know a father who recorded his twins being born by c section though he was told he wasn’t allowed. He set up the camera and just said he would be taking a few stills after they were out but he actually filmed the entire surgery.

    • Ellen Mary
      October 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      My Huz took photos all through my Cesarean . . . I was surprised, but no one said anything . . . I think that it is going to be harder & harder to enforce photo/film bans in the age of GoPro.

  22. dbistola
    October 3, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Thorough and thought provoking, as per usual. I appreciate this post because of all of the discussions many posters have been having over this video.

  23. The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
    October 3, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    I disagree with the suggestion that it is staged. Personally, I suspect the reason they refuse to identify the doctor is because as soon as they do they, he becomes an individual that was bad, and will be pushed aside, and they will no longer be able to claim that this is a general problem. Kind an issue of “OK, we nailed that guy. Now what ya got?”

    For that matter, he already may have been punished for it, which would destroy their propaganda completely.

    “See this evil doctor?????”

    “Yeah, he’s been punished already.”

    That would be a disaster for them. Remember the biggest problem with the Ray Rice story is that the NFL/Ravens didn’t do anything when they saw the video – they did it when WE saw the video.

    • Sara
      October 3, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      Seems like a normal organization for human rights would uphold a victory in court as a good thing, even if it was just one case.

      But I think you’re absolutely right. They are out to promote alternative birth, more “options,” not safer birth in which individual providers are accountable for their own behavior.

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
        October 3, 2014 at 11:51 am #

        Seems like a normal organization for human rights would uphold a victory in court as a good thing, even if it was just one case.

        Yeah, but if only if they can claim credit. If he already has been punished, he is actually an example of the system working, as opposed to one that needs to be fixed.

        • auntbea
          October 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

          This is a good point. How old is this video, and how do we know the good doctor isn’t already sitting in jail for assault? Which he should be. But it would pretty much scuttle their claim that doctors can act with impunity.

    • Anj Fabian
      October 3, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      I’m waiting on that wrongful cesarean lawsuit.

      That should be interesting – if it ever makes it to court.

    • Young CC Prof
      October 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

      I kind of agree with that. For now, they can present it as an example of “See what happens to you if you give birth in the hospital? This is happening all the time, it’s totally normal!”

      If, on the other hand, this is a story of a doctor heavily disciplined for both disrespecting patient autonomy and having lousy surgical skills, it doesn’t make such a good scare tactic any more. There are bad apples anywhere, the question is, how common are they, and what happens if you complain about them.

    • toni
      October 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

      I don’t think it is dubbed either. The hand gestures the people are making match perfectly with what is being said. The way the doctor pulls his hands inwards to point towards himself when he’s saying he’s the doctor he knows best etc. that is exactly what an arrogant person would do when challenged. The voices sound like they are where they are (grandmother behind camera, nurse furthest away etc) the way they are talking over each other in places, the odd little things they say, very true to life reactions to the baby coming out. I see no red flags suggesting the audio is fake. Maybe the lady that runs the eyes for lies blog would be a good person to look at it. She’s an expert in body language, speech patterns etc and I’m sure she could tell if something were off.

      Your explanation sounds very plausible to me. If we find out the name of the hospital and doctor we can just say well I’ll avoid that place then. it being anonymous makes it more menacing because then it could have taken place anywhere and no one is safe. Which is what NCBers want us to think

      • toni
        October 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

        Oh and when I watched the video first months ago, the YouTube channel that had uploaded it also had other videos of the same Spanish family bathing the baby, playing with him etc not there anymore but they were

    • PrimaryCareDoc
      October 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      I agree. I think the video is real. I wonder if they had named the doctor and then redacted it due to defamation fears?

      I wish they would name him. We need to get people like this out of the profession.

      • mythsayer
        October 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

        It’s not defamation if it’s true, or if it’s opinion. In this case, it’s clear it would be either one or the other.

      • CrownedMedwife
        October 3, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

        I also agree the video is real and I think any of us would be hard pressed to find a provider in this day and age to condone this behavior. Unfortunately, I did witness similar behavior as a student by two physicians on the cusp of their retirement, but this was 20 years ago and those physicians trained in the 1940’s. There has been a significant change in health care environments since the times when good little nurses stood by their patients offering the best support they could at the time and powerless to make changes in a system of hierarchy. The Doctor’s Club has changed significantly in that time well. Neither set of health care providers are likely to tolerate this type of behavior and I am astonished he hasn’t been taken to task as of yet.

        On a side note, after entering OB after viewing similar behavior as a student, it’s no wonder I gravitated towards Midwifery if that’s what I may have perceived as having been the difference. Fortunately, I have never in my career come across the likes of such behavior on behalf of a physician since the days of being a student and new grad. Unfortunately, the NCB is going to take this example as one more method of inducing fear of Modern Obstetrics. If this were an introduction to options of Physician versus Midwifery based care, I sure as hell would be running towards the Midwifery model blind to the dangers unregulated and uneducated CPM/Woo provides.

        I am not afraid that there are many providers like the physician in the video. My fear is how his actions will be used to unjustly scare women into the hands of dangerous midwives and homebirths.

  24. Sara
    October 3, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    The description for the video is odd, and definitely theatrical. I don’t know if that’s just for dramatic flair but it does make it more suspicious. It *could* be real and if so, his behavior was awful. Why should an organization devoted to changing the system (law, policies and all) be worried about a potential suit if they know they are right and have video footage to prove it?

  25. TsuDhoNimh
    October 3, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    Perhaps it was staged?

    • Amazed
      October 3, 2014 at 11:35 am #

      That was what I suggested in the post about obstetric violence. Do you see the difference with the way Dr Amy goes about her cause? She links to sources, so even parachuting trolls cannot say that the death didn’t happen, that it was all Dr Amy’s fabrication. The events took place and the only difference is the way we and homebirth advocates interpret them.

      But here? Everyone can make a horrifying video, add a dramatic story, and pat themselves on the back for being so smart when there is no details confirming that the horror actually took place.

    • auntbea
      October 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

      How could you possibly stage that? Unless they have a bang-up special effects person on their team, those cuts are real. Is your suggestion that they deliberately selected a doctor known to be awful and provoked him to cut for the sake of getting a video?

      • toni
        October 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

        Well dr Amy at least is suggesting that the footage is of a real (bad) episiotomy but the dialogue is dubbed over to make it sound like the doctor did it without consent, berated the woman etc. I’m not buying that at all. Even without the sound and subtitles you can tell he is irate, waving the scissors around and jabbing them in the air to enforce his point.

        • toni
          October 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

          As I said before, the dialogue matches the body language and gestures of the people in the room. Others have suggested the whole thing is a fake which is just ludicrous. Unless the NCBers are now employing very talented CGI artists..

        • Amazed
          October 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

          To be fair, even if he did it with consent, I doubt someone would subject themselves to his way of doing this intervention. Informed consent does not apply. It’s like Robert Biter – removing the wrong ovary isn’t the risk of the operation, it’s a complication of having a provider who doesn’t know a dime about what the hell he’s doing. When I give informed consent, I accept the risk inherent to the intervention, not the risks of having someone practice their lacking skills on me.

      • TsuDhoNimh
        October 4, 2014 at 11:57 am #

        You are right, not staged. But very open to misinterpretation because we don’t have video and medical records of the whole labor.

        “Twelve incisions” … or was it 12 moves to make a single episiotomy incision? This isn’t golf, where the lower the stroke count the better you are.

        I’ve seen plenty of surgery from start to finish. A dramatic slash or whack with a cutting instrument making a single full-length and full-depth, ready for use incision doesn’t happen in real life.

        A surgeon needs to control depth of cut, location of end points, minimize tear-out at the ends and whenever possible make an easy to fix incision. That means working through the layers of various tissues with multiple passes.

  26. DaftPunkd
    October 3, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    12 times? An episiotomy is cut once, maybe twice.

    • mythsayer
      October 3, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      That’s what got me. Hopefully Dr. Amy or another OB can pipe in here, because I literally know nothing about episiotomies other than what they are in theory, but it seems like if you were cut 12 times in that region, there’d be a giant, gaping hole. There’s just not enough ROOM for that many cuts… I would think.

      • Sara
        October 3, 2014 at 11:33 am #

        They were like progressive snips to extend the same cut. I know nothing about epis either, but that’s what it looked like.

        • mythsayer
          October 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

          Yeah, I watched it… it made more sense… but then I think the whole “there were 12 cuts!” thing is nonsense. Who cares about the number of cuts if the actual cut isn’t any different than a regular episiotomy? The point is whether it was done with permission or not and whether it caused more damage than a regular episiotomy. In this case, I think only the former is really at issue.

          • Deborah
            October 3, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

            You care if there’s not a good epidural!!!!
            I’ve had episiotomies I’ve had to snip and snip and snip to extend, but that’s because I’m making such delicate and tiny snips — as little as possible. I don’t think I’ve ever done more than 3 snips, though.

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