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?