His crime? Supporting women's right to informed consent and to having a say about happens to their bodies. In the past few months, he attended 3 VBACs and 3 vaginal breech births, all successful and with healthy outcomes.
Dr. Fischbein is a vocal supporter of midwifery and home birth. His collaborative midwife practice had a primary c-section rate last year of only 5% (compared to his colleagues' primary CS rate of 20%) and an overall rate of 12% (including repeat CS), compared to his colleagues' 29%.
To learn more about Dr. Fischbein's case and how to lend your support, please visit his blog and his website. He has been forced to start a legal defense fund in order to defend his right to continue practicing obstetrics.
So what can you do to help?
1. Contribute to Dr. Fischbein's Legal Aid Fund. Make Paypal Payment to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a check payable to Alan J. Sedley, Attorney at Law to: 1234C Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village, CA 91361
2. Write a Letter to: Mr. Michael T. Murray, President, St. John's Regional Medical Center, 1600 Rose Avenue, Oxnard, CA, 93030 and copy to: angelfischs at yahoo.com.
3. File a complaint with the Joint Commission.
4. Spread the word. Blog, tweet, link, email. Share the button on my sidebar. Flood his hospital with letters.
5. Buy a Second Womb Sling. I will contribute $5 to his Legal Aid Fund for every sling purchased from now until the end of this year.
Below is a summary of Dr. Fischbein's situation. Visit his blog regularly for updates about his ongoing battle to keep his hospital privileges and to offer women vital choices such as VBAC and vaginal breech birth.
I am an obstetrician who collaborates with midwives and believes strongly in the midwifery model of obstetrics and the right of a woman to true informed consent and refusal in the birth process. The hospitals I work at have a malicious attitude towards me and those things I believe in. They have created policies that seem to violate basic human rights, patient autonomy, possibly EMTALA and may very well be illegal. They do not seem to care that these policies violate their own mission statement, as well. Policies such as "banning" VBAC are becoming pervasive. They also have a policy denying a laboring woman an epidural who chooses to violate that policy as well as one that says a woman transferred from a home birth no matter what the reason for transfer must not go to one of the two sister hospitals. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the extent to which the hospital committees, administrators and their lawyer have gone. Their malice and pettiness now threatens my privileges for allowing 3 women this year the informed choice of refusing a repeat c/section, 3 more for having a breech delivery and for allowing a woman to choose what hospital she feels most comfortable at. They have suspended the privileges of my 2 CNMs for the pettiness of reasons and when I was able to refute that one they came up with something else. Clearly we believe this is a combination of a witch-hunt against midwifery, personal animosity towards me and what I believe and, most significantly, an assault on a woman's right to self determination, likely for economics, expediency and litigation mitigation and not for their standard line "patient safety." Feel free to ask me about that one.
This country now performs c/sections on nearly 1/3 of all pregnant women. Major surgery that carries significant short and long term risks to them and their babies of which they are rarely informed. VBAC is successful over 73% of the time and carries less morbidity that repeat c/section but all these women are told is that if they try a VBAC they could rupture their uterus and their baby could die. Thus skewing them into a choice the doctor or hospital wants them to make. Easier on the doctor, more money for the hospital. Using the midwifery model last year my collaborative midwife practice had a primary c/section rate of 5% compared with 20% for the rest of the doctors at this hospital that only does low risk OB. (Overall rate 12% vs. 29% includes repeat c/sections). All 6 of my VBAC and Breech deliveries this year went well with great outcomes, bonding and patient satisfaction. These six women would all have had c/sections against their desire if I was not in the community. Now the doctors on the OB committee, the anesthesiologists and the hospital administration are going full bore to eliminate us from that community. I would not doubt that this sort of bullying goes on under the radar in numerous communities around the country and pregnant women are the real victims.
In order to defend myself and my support of women's informed birth choices against the actions of the Hospital, I have had to retain legal counsel. I find myself in a situation I had never imagined I would be in, where I must ask for financial help for my legal defense. Please consider contributing to my legal defense fund via PayPal.