"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke, 18th century Philospher.

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of it being right." Thomas Paine

"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants." Albert Camus

"Choice is the essence of ethics: if there were no choice there would be no ethics, no good, no evil; good and evil have meaning only insofar as man is free to choose." Margaret Thatcher, March 14, 1977

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” ― Upton Sinclair

Explaining the Cause

I am a practicing obstetrician who is a strong supporter of patients rights to informed consent and refusal. I believe a patient has the right to choose her own path given true and not skewed informed consent. Following that tenet, just as a woman should be able to choose to have an elective c/section she should be able to choose not to have one, as well. The American system of hospital based obstetric practice has been eroding those choices for women for quite some time. Due to concerns of economics, expediency and fears of litigation women are being coerced to make choices that may not be in their best interest.

I have had a long relationship collaborating with midwives and find the midwifery model of care to be evidenced based and successful. I was well trained at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the mid 80's to perform breech deliveries, twin deliveries, operative vaginal deliveries and VBACs, and despite evidence supporting their continued value, hospitals are "banning" these options. Organized medicine is also doing its best to restrict the availability of access to midwives.

Home birthing is not for everyone but informed choice is. Medical ethics dictates that doctors have a responsibility and a fiduciary duty to their patients to provide true, not skewed, informed consent and to respect patient autonomy in decision making. Countries with the best outcomes in birthing have collaboration between doctors and midwives. This is not what has been happening in the hospitals of America. Its time for a change and the return of common sense.

The midwifery model of care supports pregnancy as a normal function of the female body and gives a legitimate and reasonable alternative to the over-medicalized model of birth that dominates our culture. Through this blog I hope to do my part to illuminate what is wrong with our maternity care system and what is right with it. I do not expect all to agree and that is OK. We must all understand that given honest data it is not always reasonable to expect two people to come to the same conclusion. Our differences should be respected.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rediscovering the joy in childbirth.

As you must have heard by now, I am no longer attending deliveries at the hospitals in Ventura County (See previous blog). Turns out that things have evolved as they should and I am much happier for it. It is a liberating feeling to be away from such a toxic environment and find myself looking to the future with great optimism. Life is made up of the choices we make and I choose to look to the positive.

I was fortunate enough to attend my first home birth this past Tuesday as the primary caregiver. Sharing the joy with a wonderful couple who opened their home to me, doula Jen and midwife Karni. This was a beautiful early morning delivery just after sunrise and for me it renewed the joy to be found in my profession. The path to this point has been rough and winding and full of obstacles but I am very lucky to have reached this point. I am grateful to all of you who have supported me in the journey to find a way to practice my trade and use my skills in the way nature and common sense intended.

I would hope that you will spread the word to your friends and clients that I am fortunate to be able to now offer an out of hospital birthing experience as a choice to women and families who are interested in having a doctor collaborating with a midwife. I will be working with Karni in Ventura and the lovely staff at Sanctuary in Mar Vista as well as continuing to practice in my 2 offices during the week. Anyone with questions can be referred to my Century City phone number 310 282-8613.

We know that normal birth deserves much more reverence and respect than it has been given. I am proud to be associated with all of you who undertand this and respect the wonders of the human body and the mounting evidence that supports our perspective. Ultimately, if hospitals and organized medicine will not evolve to meet this knowledge and demand then women will look elsewhere. We need to be there to meet these needs. Lets support the development of the birthing center model such as Sanctuary and Santa Barbara Birth Center, work toward the development of a freestanding maternity center model and continue to educate the next generation of care providers and pregnant women. Emphasize the "normal" in low risk birth and spread the knwoledge that childbirth is a time of great human joy. Dr.F


  1. Hi Stuart,

    Fantastic news! I will be happy to recommend you! A couple of questions...will you be willing to work with mothers wanting to do VBACs, twins or breeches at home? What will you be offering that midwives don't? What are your limits in terms of distance? Is SB too far?


  2. I was going to ask the very same questions Jessica posed...
    This is very exciting news!
    (SB doula)

  3. I appreciate your enthusiasm. It feels great to offer women evidenced based options free from the coercive forces that permeated my previous situation. Feel free to give me a call when I return from vacation. My plans are open to suggestions and will evolve as it seems appropriate and desired. I will hold an open house in the not to distant future where we can gather and share information and good feelings. Dr. F

  4. Wow, Stuart, I had no idea you had a blog. This is fantastic! I see great things for you...I will pass the info on your blog along. BTW, check out my blog, thecroneskitchen.blogspot.com. It sorely needs updating, but you can catch the flavor anyway.

    Peace and Blessings to you

    And btw, congrats on your "first" homebirth. I'm glad it went well.