What is ImprovingBirth.org trying to accomplish by encouraging the woman in the forced episiotomy video to file a lawsuit she can’t win?


I don’t get it.

And, of course, the folks at ImprovingBirth.org won’t explain it or even respond to my tweets.

I’ve written before about the shameless way that both ImprovingBirth.org and Human Rights in Childbirth have relentlessly exploited “Kelly” (her real name appears to be posted with the YouTube video, but IB and HRiC have chosen to give her an Anglo pseudonym).

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

What has Improving Birth done for the woman in the “forced episiotomy” video besides exploit her?

and there most recent pointless stunt, ImprovingBirth.org boasts about latest effort to exploit the woman in the “forced episiotomy” video.

As I wrote then:

Apparently, the folks at ImprovingBirth.org are extending their exploitation of Kelly from tragedy to farce. Birth advocates should take note. It costs money to provide real help to Kelly, and the money they raise goes to enhancing THEIR public visibility. It costs nothing to drag Kelly to the police station, have her share an intimate video with strangers who aren’t going to be able to help her, while garnering free publicity of ImprovingBirth.org…

Too bad that Kelly is being used yet again.

Not surprisingly that accomplished nothing besides promoting ImprovingBirth.org.

Today ImprovingBirth.org began raising money for the latest pointless stunt, “Kelly,” Who Had a Forced Episiotomy, Goes to Court.

Let’s review how we got to this point:

Based on a video taken by family members, “Kelly” was treated abysmally and disrespectfully by her doctor. Though there was no evidence of an emergency, her doctor cut an episiotomy over her objections. It didn’t look like any episiotomy I’ve ever seen; he cut her multiple times and it’s difficult to imagine how that could be justified.

Her doctor does need to be held to account. There are multiple ways to do so, some more likely to produce results than others.

“Kelly” spoke with the hospital administration but was not satisfied by their response. It’s hard to evaluate their response since no one at IB or HRiC has clearly articulated what Kelly wants.

She could report the doctor to the Medical Board of California. It is unclear whether this has been done or how they responded.

She filed an entirely pointless claim at the local police station which accomplished nothing for her, but generated lots of publicity for ImprovingBirth.org.

She has tried to find a lawyer to file a lawsuit, but according to IB, she has been unable to do so. That’s almost certainly because she can’t pay a lawyer and wants someone to take the case on contingency (where the lawyer gets 1/3 of any money won, but nothing if the case is lost). And that’s almost certainly because she can’t fulfill one of the most important criteria for a successful malpractice suit, permanent injury or damage.

The lawyers at IB or HRiC could represent her, or pay someone to represent her, but they don’t want to do that. Instead, they’ve encouraged her to represent herself (pro se).

We must raise at least $1,500 in the next 10 days to cover the filing fees, process server fees, lost wages for Kelly to take off work, and travel expenses from where Kelly now lives, several hours away from where she had her baby.


It can’t be that she has a high chance of winning or obtaining a substantial amount in damages; lawyers have already told her that she DOESN’T have a substantial chance of winning, and it will cost a great deal of time and money.

According to IB:

She is being supported every step of the way by a team that includes the president and vice president of Improving Birth and representatives (including lawyers) from Human Rights in Childbirth and the Birth Rights Bar Association, who have volunteered thousands of dollars worth of time and resources.

If they’ve spent thousands of dollars in time and resources, they KNOW that Kelly’s chances of getting her case into court, prosecuting it, winning it, and obtaining damages or vindication from it, are close to nil.

According to IB:

Please help Kelly meet this deadline and get her lawsuit filed. This initial $1,500 is a fraction of the estimated cost to litigate her case (up to $100,000), but it’s a necessary step if she will ever be able to seek justice in a court of law.

But she’s already been told that she’s very unlikely to find justice in a court of law.

Why should “Kelly” put herself through this if it is not going to bring the resolution she wants?

Indeed, the only people I can see benefiting from this are the folks at ImprovingBirth.org who are using “Kelly” to generate publicity.

Kelly Rios, if you are reading this, feel free to contact me through my email address on the sidebar. I will try to connect you with people who can explain your options and won’t exploit you for publicity purposes in the process.

A lawsuit is not a trivial matter, as I have reason to know. You should never embark on a lawsuit unless there is a reasonable expectation that you will achieve your aim. You’ve already been told by lawyers that you won’t, so think very carefully before you go down this road. It will cost you time, money, anxiety, and probably grief.

I don’t doubt for a moment that the folks at IB and HRiC have been genuinely supportive. Anyone who cares about human rights should be upset by the video and help you seek redress, and they truly care about women’s rights. But that doesn’t mean that representing yourself in a lawsuit is going to help you.

Don’t do anything that won’t benefit you directly, and it sounds like representing yourself pro se is not going to achieve your aim, whatever it might be.

106 Responses to “What is ImprovingBirth.org trying to accomplish by encouraging the woman in the forced episiotomy video to file a lawsuit she can’t win?”

  1. a small person
    August 26, 2019 at 2:17 pm #

    I guess Dr. Tuteur doesn’t think that the validation of the legal system is worth it to women who are abused. I am (not) surprised she hasn’t printed a response to the fact that the woman won her case and felt damn good about it. And thank God Improving Birth got some good press out of it, and abusive docs have been put on notice that their insults and injury to women will not go unpunished, because there are advocacy organizations which back women up.

  2. J Smith
    July 23, 2017 at 2:14 am #

    Well…she got a settlement and the doctor lost his license. I’d say efforts and the efforts of improving birth were well worth it despite your arguments against her pursuing a lawsuit. Doctors need to start being held accountable for assault & battery against their patients, even if those patients are quote “injured enough”!

  3. Liz Leyden
    December 31, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    Apparently, the OB has surrendered his medical license. http://news.yahoo.com/doctor-who-battled-mom-over-episiotomy-faces-164500257.html

  4. Amy Tuteur, MD
    April 27, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    I was interviewed for this piece:


  5. Lindsay Askins
    April 22, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

    So, a couple things I’d like to present to consider here….

    1. when a lawsuit comes up that has no precedence, attorneys are not sure what to do with that. this case of “battery” during birth is not something that has happened before. there hasn’t ever been a case like this before. it’s just like any other human rights issue….when it first comes up, nobody knows how to navigate it. BUT to say “oh she’ll never win…she shouldn’t even try” is inappropriate. What if MLK said that? what if the interracial couples in the 1970’s said that? what if the same-sex couples said that? what if Roas Parks said that? you see what I mean? Kelly is attempting to set a precedence here. She’s trying to pave a trail that nobody has been down before. i think saying she shouldn’t file a lawsuit she may not win is the most defeating statement towards any human. that’s like saying “oh well you won’t finish the Boston marathon, you shouldn’t even try to run it”.

    2. what is the point of this article, Amy? You seem to agree that this doc was totally out of line and needs to be held accountable. some of your suggestions have already been visited. if someone assaults you on the street, are you going to file a complaint at your local police station and then just let it go when they do nothing about it? it seems that you suggest she do something about what was done to her but then when she’s doing that very thing, you are critical of her. what should she be doing differently?

    woman to woman, are you not proud of your fellow woman for what she is trying to accomplish for the women that come after her?


    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      April 22, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

      No one told her there was no precedent; lawyers told her the case she wanted to file is unwinnable.

      MLK did not represent himself or advise anyone else to represent themselves. The major civil rights victories were won by brilliant lawyers.

      • Lindsay Askins
        April 22, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

        I”m just saying, as women, I think we should applaud her bravery to set this precedent for others, right?

        • Amazed
          April 22, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

          I see no reason to applaud her bravery. This wasn’t sexual assault, pure and simple, which seems to be the case she’s trying to plead. It was malpractice, battery, whatever. I’d like for sexual assault to stay sexual assault and not whatever the woman believes has been done to her. Because that’ll give free way to too many sexual predators to escape unpunished. I, myself, was attacked with a very sexual intent which I didn’t recognize as sexual for the reason of being too young to know where babies come from. Doesn’t mean that my attacker wasn’t after non-consexual sex.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

            she’s not claiming sexual assault. i think that part came from where she had notified the hospital staff previous to her birth that she was a past victim of sexual assault and to be gentle with her, which clearly they disregarded. i totally agree with what you’re saying regarding sexual assault victims etc. and I”m sorry you had that experience. i dont think it’s something you ever get over. the problem is, like you said, it IS battery, malpractice, a human right violation etc and none of these attorneys seem to “get” that part. which is scary. if kelly was walking down the street and some dude comes up to her and cuts her 12 times – even ONCE – she’d have an attorney take her case on as battery in a heartbeat. why is it different in a delivery room? it’s the same thing.

          • Amazed
            April 22, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

            None of these attorneys seems to “get” this part isn’t true. It simply isn’t. We have a lawyer here, on this page, who offered to help. IB deleted her. I saw offers for legal help disappear from the HRiC page without explanation. Dr Amy even accepted to serve as an expert witness after they asked her – and they deleted that exchange as well.

            Whatever the problem, it isn’t that no attorney wants to help and doesn’t get it. It’s that they didn’t let those who could and wanted to help nowhere near Kelly.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

            how do you know that? how does Amy know that? none of us actually KNOW Kelly or work behind the scenes with IB. these claims would be like if I wrote an article about Barack Obama’s daily routine. I have NO idea what he does all day…I can speculate from the media but we all know how accurate the media is…

            I think it’s unfair to make assumptions about a story and a person none of us personally know. I think it would be better if we supported a fellow woman who is hurting from something that happened to her. A little compassion and humanity goes a long way. I am trying to see how this article contributes to the greater good of the world and I can’t.

          • Amazed
            April 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

            I know because it happened right in front of me. Everyone here saw that. They asked Amy publicly on their FB page and when she accepted, they deleted the exchange. I saw it happen. Same with the other offers. They were there, on the FB page, and then they disappeared.

            I feel justified in thinking that they have something to hide.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

            i dont really understand what you are saying…who is “they” asking Amy publicly? and who are the others?

          • Amazed
            April 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

            The IB or the HRiC group representative, I cannot keep them apart. A lady lawyer (who clearly wasn’t working on the case) who wanted Dr Amy to serve as expert witness. Fine, Dr Amy said and they deleted the exchange.

            Other people offered on their page to help with the lawyer. One offered her lawyer brother, another offered her own lawyer expertise. Just read what mythsayer wrote here. Alas, I cannot give you names because I don’t remember them. The people who were supposedly seeing help for Kelly deleted all offers for help.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

            hmmm that sounds like there are some missing pieces to the story. i can’t find what would motivate anyone at any of those organizations to be “sneaky” or shady or delete things….seems weird. like, what would be the motivation to “delete all offers for help”, ya know?

          • Stacy48918
            April 22, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

            Because going through real legal channels doesn’t happen in public the way storming into a police office does. Publicity.

          • Stacy48918
            April 22, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

            And natural childbirth and homebirth groups delete dissent ALL.THE.TIME. Hang out here a bit, you’ll see it for yourself.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            April 22, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

            Here’s the exchange:


          • Cobalt
            April 23, 2015 at 1:46 am #

            You’re assuming their motivations and goals are their stated ones, which directly contradicts their actions of deleting offers of assistance.

            Actions speak louder than words.

          • Stacy48918
            April 22, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

            “I think it’s unfair to make assumptions about a story and a person none of us personally know. ”
            Good point….

            We have a TON of compassion for her. What happened to her is wrong. She should seek therapy. The doctor should face sanctions. No one opposes that. We oppose IB using her for publicity.

            “I am trying to see how this article contributes to the greater good of the world and I can’t.”

            It is raising awareness of how groups manipulate and profit off women’s pain for their own agenda.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

            all that is great. I cry every time i think about women who have been through what kelly has been through. it needs to stop. but I think IB falls under the category of people we dont know and are making assumptions of as well. do you know anyone personally at IB?

            there are groups that profit off of other people, for sure. and i agree that they should be exposed. i am having a hard time seeing how IB is doing that here though….

          • Stacy48918
            April 22, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

            Because they were offered REAL legal help, but that would take place in offices and conference rooms. They wanted to parade Kelly into a police department so they declined the offers.

          • An Actual Attorney
            April 22, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

            “if kelly was walking down the street and some dude comes up to her and cuts her 12 times – even ONCE – she’d have an attorney take her case on as battery in a heartbeat.”

            Nope — that’s not how it works. Do you have any idea what you are talking about? What are the 4 basic elements of a tort? What are the costs that go into a lawsuit? How are damages calculated?

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 22, 2015 at 11:51 pm #

            Except she IS claiming sexual assault. Here is an update from when IB accompanied her to the police station for “one last try” before they “revealed the name of the doctor”.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD
          April 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

          No, she’s not going to set a precedent. That’s my point.

          It’s just a publicity stunt that benefits IB, like the one where they encouraged her to go to the police station and file a sexual assault case. That also accomplished nothing.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

            i feel as though she’s already set a precedent by how far she’s gotten currently. why do you think it’s a publicity stunt if she sought out help from IB?

          • Stacy48918
            April 22, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

            Because THEY are using her as a publicity stunt and they only want to “improve birth” if it conforms to their predetermined ideas of how “birth should be”, rather than, I don’t know, science.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            April 22, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

            A precedent that no one knows about, helps no one and did nothing for her?

            I don’t think it was publicity seeking to ask for help from IB. I think IB is using her for their own publicity without helping her.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

            I think there are a lot of assumptions made here. Without personally knowing Kelly, none of us actually know what is happening here. I’m trying to see how your article contributes to any cause and I’m having a hard time….

          • momofone
            April 22, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

            Ask yourself who benefits most from the publicity. It certainly isn’t Kelly.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

            i feel as though she’s already set a precedent by how far she’s gotten currently.

            Ummmmm, she hasn’t “gotten” anywhere! She has been completely denied in everything she has tried.

            The police and lawyers have done nothing she has wanted them to do.

            Maybe she should use an approach that is known to be successful instead of shooting for long shot?

        • Stacy48918
          April 22, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

          You are starting from the position that this is a good precedent to set. I don’t believe it is.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

            why? for me, i dont think its’ okay to cut people (well ever) but especially when they are yelling “no!”. *note: this applies to ALL people and ALL types of cutting. are you okay with being cut while walking down the street? you don’t think whomever cut you should face some sort of ramification for that?

          • Stacy48918
            April 22, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

            Of course not because I understand “context”. We don’t let people walking down the street cut women open and pull their babies from their abdomens either. You can’t take a medical procedure and extrapolate it into real life. The doctor should face malpractice repercussions, which include his patient management. But a criminal case? No. I guarantee you people the ER scream far worse things than “No” at their care providers – you would let every crack addict in the ER sue their doctor for trying to save their life.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 7:53 pm #

            I see what you are saying (and I used to work in the ER and there are a lot of crazies on drugs) but if we dont apply human rights across the board to everyone everywhere, then where is humanity? having an MD (or any other license of any kind) does not give you jurisdiction over someone else’s body. this only exception to that is maybe a police officer who handcuffs a person who is acting violently towards others. but just because you are a doctor does not mean you can cut people’s bodies without their consent. it’s THEIR body. it’s not okay….at least not in a country that calls itself “free”. this is a Constitutional issue.

          • Stacy48918
            April 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

            Why is there such a thing as a “Patient’s Bill of Rights”? Because the medical setting is different and there are different types of rights and allowances.

            Why do you feel malpractice is insufficient in this case?

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

            a patient’s bill of rights does not trump the united states constitution though. just because you are in a hospital does not mean you left your basic human rights in the parking lot. that’s the part that most people don’t understand. all the time women are like “can I do this or am i allowed to do that?” while pregnant, in labor, etc. they actually believe that someone else is in charge of their body and their decision making because we are so groomed our whole lives to “listen to the experts” and “follow directions”. but that does not give another human being authority to CUT someone at all but against their will, doctor or not, hospital or not.

            i made no comment regarding malpractice….?

          • Stacy48918
            April 22, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

            Which article or amendment of the Constitution are you specifically referring to?

            You haven’t commented on malpractice, but clearly you believe that sanctioning this doctor for malpractice is insufficient. Why is that?

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

            just basic human rights, my friend. nothing gives anyone the authority to go around harming (cutting) others.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 8:30 pm #

            I don’t have any such belief….or to the contrary. I do believe this doctor (and any others practicing without consent) should stand to face repercussions. its on video that he DID NOT have consent to perform an episiotomy. that’s all any of us need to know. in any other setting, that’s assault and battery.

      • Lindsay Askins
        April 22, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

        I was using MLK, Rosa Parks etc loosely to illustrate that they were paving a trail as well

  6. mythsayer
    April 20, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    Ummm… there is a LOT wrong here. She is in California, correct? Did she sent the 90 day notice to the doctor that she’d be filing a malpractice lawsuit? It’s required. It also adds 90 days to the statute of limitations. What county is she filing in? $1500 is just about right for filing and service fees… but if she files this pro per (we don’t use pro se here, but it’s the same thing), she will lose immediately on demurrer. Particularly if she never sent that 90 day notice.

  7. Lena
    April 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm #

    Having her go pro se instread of paying for a lawyer for her is…well, it says it all doesn’t it.

    And honestly, anything short of that doctor losing his license isn’t enough. He’s actions were those of a sadistic bastard and no amount of “retraining” will help. He shouldn’t be allowed to work with people or any other living creature.

  8. lawyer jane
    April 17, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    Wow, that is incredibly bizarre and irresponsible of them. I suppose it’s possible that the mother really wants to go pro se, but if they are really campaigning for her to do it, that’s just weird. And it’s like they have no clue what a civil suit means – it’s not just filing the complaint. There are many more steps. I wonder if they have been actively standing in the way of her getting actually competent counsel? If the facts in this case are as represented, it seems like she would have a malpractice case that somebody would take on contingency.

    • Daleth
      April 17, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

      Who on earth wants to go pro se? Nobody WANTS to; they do it because they can’t afford a lawyer, can’t find a lawyer who will work pro bono or on contingency, irrationally refuse to pay for a lawyer, or last but not least, their case is so bad that they can’t even find a lawyer who will work for pay, but they passionately, insistently reject the advice every lawyer they talk to gives them (namely, “your case is a dog, give up”).

  9. guest
    April 17, 2015 at 3:37 am #

    DrAmy, I genuinely don’t understand this: if we al agree that – as you say – this doctor should be seriously held to task, why does she have no chance in court? I get your point about there not being permanent damage, but surely any other circumstance where I get cut in my vagina I would have a legitimate claim, even if the cut itself healed without permanent damage? What am I missing here?

    • Dr Kitty
      April 17, 2015 at 8:23 am #

      Because in any other circumstances it would be assault and battery, but the fact is that doctors are protected from such charges unless and until it can be proved that their actions were such and do not fall within normal medical practice.

      I’m not sure what exactly the civil case will be, and the chance of success will be higher if they make a case for malpractice with temporary pain and suffering, and low if they argue anything else.

      HOWEVER, there already exist mechanisms for dealing with Doctors who act negligently or commit malpractice. A civil suit isn’t it.
      There are robust systems at the medical boards to investigate claims and impose sanctions, up to and including removing a Dr’s licence to practice. A civil case won’t do that.

      If Kelly wants the doctor prevented from treating patients during an investigation, to have to apologise, to undergo further education or supervision of his work, the medical board is the way to go. They can impose all of those things.

      If Kelly wants a long, expensive civil case which is unlikely to go in her favour and, even if it does, is unlikely to result in an award of damages which will be large enough to recoup the time, effort and lost wages taken in pursuing the case, then she should go pro se and pursue this civil suit.

      I do not think the advice she has got has really made it clear to her that the civil suit might not be the best way of pursuing justice and redress.

      • Jenn Riedy Doula
        April 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

        A complaint was already filed with the medical board and there has been no response.

        • moto_librarian
          April 17, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

          Maybe because the investigation is ongoing?

        • mythsayer
          April 20, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

          It can take the medical board years to get around to doing something.

      • Lena
        April 17, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

        How many complaints to the medical board does it take for there to be serious consequences to a doctor? Because I can think of plenty of actions, that “episiotomy” being one of them, where an apology and further education won’t cut it (I swear, no pun intended). I know a civil suit won’t amount to much in this case, but the reason I’m a fan of lawsuits in general is because of the potential to punish people who are immune to any other consequences, and punish them where it hurts the most–their bank accounts.

      • lawyer jane
        April 20, 2015 at 10:37 am #

        Actually, based on what the internet says about the facts (which of course is not the whole story!) I actually think she could have a good malpractice/battery case. The problem seems to be is that she (perhaps under the influence of her “advisors”) is insisting on filing it as a sexual assault case, which would make rational attorneys run in the other direction.

        • Daleth
          April 20, 2015 at 11:03 am #

          Exactly. And it seems to be this idiotic organization that encouraged her to handle it this way (as a sexual assault). How exploitative.

        • An Actual Attorney
          April 20, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

          I don’t see how the damages (the $$ you win in the end) would remotely cover the cost of the suit. Amorphous rights usually net you nominal damages ($1.00).

        • mythsayer
          April 20, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

          She absolutely 100% will not win a sexual assault case. I went through the sexual assault statute she’d be suing under here in California and she doesn’t meet the elements for any of them. So yeah… she has no chance under a sexual assault claim.

          It’s really hard to recover under battery, too… for the reasons stated below. We are literally talking emotional distress damages for the most part… so hard to prove those, as I’m sure you know. If there were actual, actual damages… provable medical damages, she’d already have an attorney.

    • mythsayer
      April 20, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

      Wow. Okay. I could go on and on and on for pages as to why. But let me make it as short as possible. She will lose if she files this pro per because she has absolutely no idea how to navigate the legal system in California and she is going to be up against a pile of attorneys paid by insurance companies. She will lose this case within the next 6 months, guaranteed. She won’t even get to the important point of mediation, much less trial. She will lose entirely on procedural grounds. Forget about substantive grounds. She won’t even get that far.

    • mythsayer
      April 20, 2015 at 7:00 pm #

      If we want to talk about substantive reasons why she’ll probably lose, it’s because proving damages in a situation like this is actually hard. If this case were as cut and dried as they are making it out to be, some lawyer would have been salivating over the case.

      You know what’s most damning? I’m a California attorney and I told Improving Birth that I’d be willing to help. They never contacted me.

  10. Allie
    April 17, 2015 at 12:30 am #

    I don’t understand why this is so complicated. Medical treatment without consent is a simple tort – battery. And unlike negligence, you don’t have to prove damages, or even standard of care; only that the medical treatment was given without consent. Even in emergency situations, treatment cannot be given without consent in some situations (for example, a blood transfusion when the patient is unable to communicate but carrying an ID card stating they have a religious objection and would not consent to a blood transfusion under any circumstances, even if it were a matter of life and death). The potential award would not be huge (at least in my jurisdiction – perhaps she can find a reason to sue in Texas…). I do feel medical consent is more complicated in a birth context, because I don’t think a mother should be able to refuse consent unreasonably to lifesaving treatment for the infant, but as far as I understand it, an episiotomy does not generally fall under the category of life-saving treatments and, in any event, did not in this case.

    • Bombshellrisa
      April 17, 2015 at 2:01 am #

      If I remember correctly, Kelly wanted to bring sexual assault charges against the doctor, not malpractice or battery. That is what was said when there was the big deal made about going to the police station and how the officers at first wouldn’t take what she was saying seriously. I don’t think that it was ever Kelly’s idea to pursue charges of sexual assault, it’s IB’s way of furthering their agenda.

      • lawyer jane
        April 17, 2015 at 10:20 am #

        Ohhh that explains it. She can’t find a competent attorney because she (or they) are fixated on the idea of this being sexual assault, not malpractice or battery.

      • LovleAnjel
        April 17, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

        They are building a case for legally recognized birthrape. It’s completely agenda-driven.

      • mythsayer
        April 20, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

        She will NEVER win under the sexual assault statute. She doesn’t fit into any of the categories.

    • Bombshellrisa
      April 17, 2015 at 2:06 am #

      This was one of the updates from IB’s Facebook page

    • mythsayer
      April 20, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

      So in the end you win… what…? Basically nothing. There is no way a damages award in this case would even come close to equaling the cost of a lawsuit. I guarantee a lawyer would take this case if they thought there was some chance of recovery. Something else is wrong here.

  11. just me
    April 16, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

    OT but just got People Magazine…Jill Duggar had probs with home birth and ultimately went to the hospital and got Pitocin, epidural, C-sec. Good for her. Although she does plan to try for VBAC.

    • Tired Momma
      April 16, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

      They are broke themselves.

    • Lena
      April 18, 2015 at 12:00 am #

      Such a weird birth story and I’d love an ob’s or a cnm’s take on it. A 9+ baby flipped to transverse 50 hours (at least) after srom (and she was GBS+). I’m guessing either she’s lying or People is doing some creative reporting.

  12. Amazed
    April 16, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    Someone care to tell me what the purpose of those so importantly sounding organizations is? Because it sure doesn’t look helping women is what they are after. What purpose do they serve if they won’t try and offer real help to someone like Kelly?

  13. Cobalt
    April 16, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    I don’t understand why Improving Birth’s attorneys aren’t representing her, if people have already donated so much for the cause.

    Why are they setting her up for failure?

    I hope this gets sorted out, and that doctor is called to answer for what he did.

    • moto_librarian
      April 16, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

      Because they don’t care about what happened to Kelly. They care about two things: 1. Promoting their organization, 2. Using a case of bad care (which we all acknowledge can and does happen in hospitals) to make it seem like such hideous behavior on the part of the physician is a normal part of hospital birth.

      Let me be clear: this doctor needs to be held accountable. I want to see him reported to the medical board in his state. Improving Birth claims that this has been done, but they offer no proof. If they really cared about women, they would not be protecting the identity of this doctor, nor would they have brushed aside Dr. Tuteur’s offer to serve as a professional witness. Something doesn’t add up here.

      • Jenn Riedy Doula
        April 17, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

        What if they don’t need Dr. Tuteur’s services since they already have other doctors serving as professional witnesses?

        • Amazed
          April 17, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

          That’s why they asked her to be their professional witness and when she accepted, they deleted the entire exchange?

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 17, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

            She also offered to help them find a lawyer and they turned that down if I remember that exchange correctly.

          • Amazed
            April 17, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

            Yeah, that as well.

          • mythsayer
            April 20, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

            I offered to help during that whole exchange a few months back where IB people came on here asking Dr. Amy to help them. When she actually offered, they disappeared. They never even responded to my comments.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 21, 2015 at 1:43 am #

            Wow. Thank you for trying. Of course they wouldn’t respond, it doesn’t fit their agenda.

    • Tired Momma
      April 16, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

      Because they are broke themselves.

    • Jenn Riedy Doula
      April 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

      Because their lawyers are not in the state that Kelly needs to file in.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD
        April 17, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

        So why are they encouraging her to ignore the advice of lawyers who ARE in the state?

        I saw IB’s Facebook post “giggling” in response to criticism. They sound like a toddler who thinks she’s going to make her mother sorry by sticking her tongue out. They’ve jerked this woman around for months to drum up publicity for themselves and accomplished NOTHING on her behalf.

      • Daleth
        April 17, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

        It doesn’t matter where their lawyers are. They can be admitted pro hac vice to the state Kelly needs to file in (“pro hac vice” means they are admitted to practice in that state solely for that one case).

        All you need, in order to get admitted pro hac, is one lawyer in that state who is willing to join the team by putting his or her name on your pro hac applications (which are 1-2 page applications that take about three minutes to fill out and another minute or two to file), and on all your filings. The in-state lawyer doesn’t have to do a lick of work; it can all be done by the pro hac, out of state lawyers.

        Is there not ONE lawyer in her state who’s willing to be part of this case? I’m sure they could dredge up SOMEBODY even if this case is (as it seems) a total dog that’s doomed to lose. They just need ONE lawyer; they could literally rope in a dude who just graduated from law school, just passed the bar and doesn’t even have a job… offer him $50/hour and he will jump!

        So I have to assume they simply haven’t tried to get admitted pro hac. Instead, they are abandoning this woman to her fate while using her as a symbol to promote their own movement.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym
          April 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

          Or there case is so bad that they can’t find any lawyer willing to put his or her name on it. Or none of the out of state lawyers encouraging her to file are willing to actually put their names on this lawsuit, not to mention spend their time on it.

          • Daleth
            April 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

            Bingo. I think they could find some jobless recent grad in Kelly’s state who just passed the bar and is so desperate for work that he or she would sign on, but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say that the case is so bad (as it’s currently presented–i.e. as a sexual assault case against a doctor) that the seasoned lawyers from out of state are not willing to put their reputations on the line.

          • mythsayer
            April 20, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

            They’d have to PAY that out of work attorney. A brand new, unemployed attorney would not have the resources to front the costs for this type of lawsuit.

          • Daleth
            April 21, 2015 at 10:59 am #

            You know, I think that may be it. Not that they’d have to pay the attorney, since an out-of-work recent grad would work for peanuts, but that you can’t do a medical malpractice case without an expert–someone to testify to the jury what is normal practice in labor and delivery and what isn’t–and they don’t come cheap. Whereas you don’t need an expert for a sexual assault case.

          • mythsayer
            April 21, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

            Right… bc IB doesn’t want to front ANY costs. Paying the new attorney peanuts doesn’t solve the expert problem, as you noted. So sexual assault is the only option. But it’s not winnable.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym
            April 21, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

            But Dr. Tuteur offered to help. Perhaps she could review the case and appear as an expert witness (if she thought the case sufficient after review) or refer them to a colleague who might be willing to appear as an expert witness. A sufficiently outraged OB might be willing to do it for less than the usual fee or even for free.

          • Daleth
            April 21, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

            Yes, actually, an OB is exactly who you’d want as an expert witness. No other kind of doctor would work–literally no other kind of doctor would qualify as an expert (i.e., be accepted by the judge as suitable to testify) for purposes of a malpractice suit against an OB. And it’s hard to do better than a Harvard-educated relatively famous OB.

            So clearly, they just didn’t want to participate in the kind of lawsuit that could conceivably work. They just wanted to use this woman for their own weird purposes.

        • mythsayer
          April 20, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

          I offered my help to Improving Birth, knowing they wouldn’t take me up on it. They never did. They have no interest in helping her find an attorney.

      • Bombshellrisa
        April 17, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

        Births rights bar association is Human Rights in Childbirth’s legal advocacy group. There are lawyers in Kelly’s state (California).

        • TNG
          April 18, 2015 at 12:48 am #

          While many of the same people are involved in HRiC and BRBA, BRBA is not a legal advocacy group, but a professional organization designed to support attorneys with an interest in birth rights. Part of BRBA’s mission is to submit amicus curiae briefs where beneficial, but BRBA does not provide representation, instead providing networking, education, and support for legal professionals.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            April 18, 2015 at 1:08 am #

            Can you help us understand why IB is encouraging the mother to file suit pro se? What is that going to accomplish for Kelly? Nothing, right?

          • TNG
            April 18, 2015 at 1:59 am #

            I cannot speak to the work of Improving Birth, unfortunately.

          • Lindsay Askins
            April 22, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

            IB is not encouraging Kelly to do anything….she came to IB for help. Her filing representing herself is her own decision.

          • momofone
            April 22, 2015 at 11:12 pm #

            You seem quite sure of this. I’m curious about how you know this with such certainty, especially given that in comments above you say that you have no personal knowledge of this situation.

          • Cobalt
            April 23, 2015 at 1:50 am #

            Maybe she’s fed up with the publicity stunts and is trying desperately to actually get something done. Too bad IB deletes offers of actual help, instead of passing them on.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 18, 2015 at 1:26 am #

            Fascinating. So they talk about birth rights to each other but don’t do much to actually help those who need a lawyer when their rights have been violated. How does Birth Rights Bar Association promote rights associated with childbirth if they don’t advocate for women?

          • TNG
            April 18, 2015 at 1:58 am #

            BRBA was developed as a professional organization specifically to fill the hole of supporting and educating legal professionals who work in this area. BRBA provides professional assistance and networking but does not provide direct representation. It is a different, but still valuable, method.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            April 18, 2015 at 10:04 am #

            Has the BRBA had any involvement in Kelly’s case?

          • Cobalt
            April 19, 2015 at 7:26 am #

            And NONE of the attorneys in that organization are willing to help Kelly?

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 18, 2015 at 1:34 am #

            My info about them came from their page.

          • TNG
            April 18, 2015 at 1:56 am #

            I do not know of anywhere where BRBA is referred to as HRiC’s legal advocacy arm and, if you find it, please let me know as this needs to be corrected. BRBA is a stand-alone organization with complementary but distinct goals.

            I can also see where that post is unclear, but the advocacy and research done by BRBA is not at the consumer level, but aimed at supporting professionals. I will work to clarify that in future communications.

  14. April 16, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

    It is a very crappy position to be in – and demonstrates how flawed the medical malpractice system is as the state boards are often seen as being by doctors and for doctors and unlikely to yield an adequate result, meanwhile, absent significant and permanent injuries (although the injury of being violated by someone you trusted is indeed very significant) access to the formal justice system is limited. Women in this position simply can’t win, regardless of what they do – ultimately the woman in the video would likely be served better by raising funds for therapy.

    • CanDoc
      April 16, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

      I suspect a college complaint would have a very significant impact on this physician’s practice. The college is responsible for discipline and maintaining the integrity and professionalism of physicians – and making sure that yahoos who make the rest of us look bad are called to account.

      • Medwife
        April 17, 2015 at 9:46 am #

        What organization is a college- I think that’s a Canadian system thing (don’t think you mean American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

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