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This is "Dr. Wonderful"?

Understanding that allegations and accusations do not equal guilt, it is nigh on impossible to read through this and not ask, “Seriously?”

And while these cases are not obstetric-related, I have first-hand knowledge of at least two such cases the Medical Board of California is examining. It is up to the Medical Board whether they will bring even more charges of negligence against Dr. Biter.

I stand by the births I have done with Dr. Biter, that they were wonderful and beautiful and even amazing. But, when he lost privileges, even as we marched for him in front of the hospital that booted him, stories began emerging about his lackadaisical care, his stretching of the boundaries of safety in homebirths and eventually, I sat and listened as new moms relayed stories that made my toes curl, stories that are theirs to tell when they are ready. Stories that have already been told to the Medical Board.

So, I guess I’m eating huge troughs of crow right now. Embarrassed that I supported someone who seemed so genuine, who really seemed to care about women’s rights in birth. And while he might believe he does, when one sets up another human being for the possibility to die from neglect, I have a really hard time understanding where that person… Dr. Biter… is coming from.

I hope the truth wins here. And I pray no woman or baby has to die to get there.

References (4)

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    - Navelgazing Midwife Blog - This is "Dr. Wonderful"?
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Reader Comments (38)

The link is not working for me.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

holy shit, barb.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentererika

Not sure why. I've tried it on two different computers and it's fine. Opens to the Medical Board of CA, License Lookup system, PhysicianSurgeon area.

July 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

what kind of file is it supposed to open as?

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

Mine just opens in IE. Someone else mentioned Adobe. Twice, when the file didn't come through, I refreshed the page and it appeared, both times.

I wonder if I'd be able to put the thing out somewhere else?

I'm so sorry this is frustrating for a few of you.

July 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Link didn't work in Firefox for mac but was okay in Safari Lauren.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPamela

Wow, that is some scary reading! I had wondered when the details regarding Dr. Biter's case would begin to come out.

I doubt that there is a person alive who has not had his or her trust in someone violated. It is painful, upsetting, even humiliating to be betrayed by someone who you believed in. I am sorry that Dr. Biter has betrayed your trust Barb, but I appreciate the fact that you will not continue to defend him. I respect you a great deal; I know that it is not easy to take the principled approach.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermoto_librarian

jesus, this is so sad. I will say initially I had some reservations, as I always do when I see male birth attendants displaying affection that is typically reserved for more intimate partners, but I never suspected it was correct.

I can't read anything that points to the accusations.


July 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpamela

I skimmed through the information you linked. This was two older patients he was negligent with and it sounds like he is good at delivering babies, but at surgical procedures (scary if a laboring or postpartum mom needs surgical intervention).

In your opinion, based on what you heard from new mothers, was he also negligent with obstetrical care? Would these new mothers have legitimate cases, or was it lack of care that could potentially have resulted in problems?

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJ

I think that if you perform enough surgeries & you practise for long enough, these things are going to happen. It doesn't make it right but it does happen. My heart goes out to the women involved, but we don't know all the details. When I was reading about the TVT surgery I was wondering if the woman was a smoker, what her nutrition was like - she seems a very poor healer & I feel dreadful for her - even more so if the surgeries were poorly executed.
I have seem some doctors I greatly respect cause some dreadful damage to women - never, ever on purpose & rarely negligently - which is very different to accidental damage. I hope that everyone gets a fair hearing.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

These are not simple accusations. These aren't cases of he said/she said. These are cases that have already been scoured and examined for *years* before they are brought before the Medical Board. This is the last stop before losing a license... an incredibly serious offense. I assure you, these things you read are being told in the cold voice of typeface, not in some vindictive, someone's-hurting-my-feelings sort of way.

It would behoove readers to find a way to grasp the seriousness of these charges. This isn't some frivolous lawsuit happening here,

July 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

just saw the link...it finally worked for me. yeah, I agree that maybe he's not the best surgeon, or maybe it's just dumb luck that happens when you practice and perform enough surgeries. surgeons are human - and sometimes the way people heal is not the best.

I also know that accusations can be one sided and erroneous.

Still, the pics of him kissing and being intimate with women jeeved me out.

ok, done. ;)

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpamela

Don't beat yourself up too much Barb. You only had your own personal experiences to go on.
Thank you for your intellectual honesty. A lot of people would just keep their mouths shut and delete the posts that sang his praises.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Wow. What jumped out at me, over and over and over, was "failed to document". The absolute cardinal sin in the healthcare field. Didn't discuss the risks/benefits of a surgical procedure? isn't that what we in the natural birth world *hate* about doctors? Rush right into surgery? Boy oh boy. If he's doing this in gyn cases, what has he done in OB cases? Please keep us updated on the outcome.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen B

I can only go off of what I know personally. I've had nothing but over and above excellent care from Dr. Biter. As a doula- I've only witnessed the same type of care for clients I've served who've had him as their care provider. I DO have good friends who've left his care due to less than satisfactory care and were very open with me about their disappointment and concern. I also have a number of friends who've received great care. Bottom line for me here is we're dealing with a human being and no human being should ever be put on a platform because they are ALWAYS going to disappoint and fail and not be what they need to be in every situation. I guess I'm sad that he was ever deemed "Dr Wonderful" by you at all. He's just who he is. The unfortunate thing in this situation is that there are literally thousands of people who will see this post on your blog who don't know Dr. Biter from Adam and will formulate opinions, make judgments, and assume things and the talk will continue. And my big question is, is anyone going to the source directly? He's been put in a public arena that I'm not sure he's asked to be put in.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenna Anderson

My god my god. I am afraid to hear what else comes up against him, that was hard enough to read. What an ordeal.

I totally felt that weird undercurrent during the protests. I did not entirely brush it off but like you, withheld judgement until more info came out. Wow wow. Awful stuff.

July 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStassja

Jenna: So, it's MY fault for putting him in the limelight in the first place? If I hadn't ever given him accolades for providing such amazing and DIFFERENT births, none of this would have happened? Um. Not quite, dear.

And to answer your question about going to "the source" directly... the answer is "Yes." Including the Medical Board.

July 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Oh, and for those of us that *do* know him, we go by what we know as well as what we've heard. Even in your above comment about "only" going on what you know, you speak about others and what their experiences are, so you are doing the exact same thing.

And I am, indeed, utilizing what I *know*... NOT just what I've heard.

July 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I've visited your blog a few times. I've always enjoyed your intellectually honest approach. I am able to really appreciate your holistic and spiritual values because I trust your curiosity and self-awareness.

Huge props for this post. Huge. You made a mistake. Since the nature of the mistake involved educating other people, you corrected it publically and openly.
You accepted responsibility. You made changes to avoid this type of mistake in the future.
Thanks for being a great role model. All of the other pregnancy/birth blogs have a lot to learn from you.

July 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNew fan

NGM- I really enjoy much of what you write about and find the information on pregnancy and birth so valuable. I guess the thing that I have a hard time with and what I was trying to say in my above comment is that I'm personally not a fan of spotlighting specific individuals in such forums- positive and negative press alike. No, it's not because of your previous admiration of Dr. Biter that any of this happened. Not at all. All I meant from my comment "I guess I'm sad that he was ever deemed 'Dr Wonderful' by you at all" is that it brings him up on a pedestal and the fall when there is failure and yes- there has been failure- is only that much greater because of the level he was raised to. And on this blog, I think he's the only individual that I've seen specifically spotlighted and therefore the one that is most prevalent in readers minds... many of who would have no clue who he is if he wasn't showcased.
And when I asked you about going to the source directly, I wasn't referring to the Medical Board... I was referring to you meeting face to face with Dr. Biter directly and talking about the things you've heard.

July 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenna Anderson

I can't believe that some of the posters here are actually excusing his behavior because some patients are "poor healers!" Really? How can you read the document that Barb posted and not believe that he was completely negligent in the care of these women? He failed to perform tests that would differentiate the exact cause of urinary incontinence, and in at least one case, performed a procedure that he had never done before! How can you not be appalled to read about other women being treated this way? Especially when at least one of you (Jenna) admits that patients have found his care to be inconsistent? This guy should never be allowed to practice again.

July 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermoto_librarian

Actually, I think some of us that read your blog and maybe many who came here through your support of Dr Biter probably don't really understand the medical notes behind this- or how the board works.
I know I've heard that most doctors have 4-5 complaints after a number of years- and I hadn't realized that the complaints had gone to the next level.

You said: " These are not simple accusations... This is the last stop before losing a license... an incredibly serious offense....
It would behoove readers to find a way to grasp the seriousness of these charges. This isn't some frivolous lawsuit happening here."

Ok, that gives us a little more background if we take your word for it but I'll admit that not knowing the specifics.... I was with the other posters who have wondered if the mistakes were more of an honest nature or were nitpicked because he was making waves at the hospital.
Obviously, he must take responsibility for these mistakes and his failure to document, etc, makes it easy to prosecute and suspend/revoke but for the one that I read with my limited knowledge it seemed like the patient was asking him to do things a certain way, too, so he was being accommodating and perhaps he shouldn't have done that from the beginning or should have done something different earlier. So I think it is very hard to know what to do with this info- and during the initial event the info was played down.

Not writing to defend Dr Biter, but I hadn't really been sure what to think after reading the report. Also I'm not sure about the posters mentioning Dr Biter being intimate with his patients - I didn't see that referenced and I'm assuming that some think he was too personal???

Is he still attending births/operating a birth center? What is supposed to happen next? Has he issued any statements?

I'm sorry you were let down- he sounds like a wonderful OB for many families and its a shame that he made mistakes and will be paying for them- whether they were unavoidable or due to something more negligent on his part.


July 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Props for admitting your mistake.

July 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterflo

I don't know this doctor, but I do know there is a HUGE class action lawsuit brewing against the makers of several mesh products for causing all of the issues that first patient had after her surgery. http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/ethicon-gynecare-tranvaginal-mesh-lawsuits-19699/

July 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRain

Jenna asks: "And when I asked you about going to the source directly, I wasn't referring to the Medical Board... I was referring to you meeting face to face with Dr. Biter directly and talking about the things you've heard."

As I said above: "And to answer your question about going to "the source" directly... the answer is "Yes." Including the Medical Board."

That means YES, he has been spoken to directly. By clients *and* the Medical Board. I have nothing to say or ask, so no, I have not spoken to him directly since the spring.

July 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Jessica: I don't know if he is still attending births. If he has issued a statement, I have not seen it. I am in the same boat as everyone else, watching as it unfolds, so am unaware of what comes next.

July 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

What a brave post for you to provide, after previous being allied with Dr. Biter. It is insight like yours that keeps moms and babies safe. Thanks for sharing so candidly. Brava!

July 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

i find this very wrong that you would post this the week his mom past away.

July 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterally

For the 8 zillionth time, I didn't know his mom had died!!!! For crying in a bucket, you guys, chill on the mom dying thing. Next time, make sure I'm in the loop and I *might* change my timing. Might.

But, fwiw, I also have a committment to the moms and babies who've been affected.

Timing ISN'T everything.

(Oh, and spelling errors annoy the crap out of me, ally. Do you care about that?)

July 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

You do realize you are taking the safe path, right?

Frankly, this doctor sounds like MOST doctors.

Are you serious? You think that most docs are any better.. get any better consent.. do any darn better?

If all this doc has done is fail to get adequate informed consent prior to performing surgery... where is the choir that comes up with "at least.." in response to unneeded surgery for them because a doctor -thought- they -might- need it?

Most people would consent to a c-section, a hysterectomy, a gallbladder removal, whatever.. if a doctor simply thought it was necessary. Darn the risks unless the risks actually affect them. These people probably didn't even freaking ask. Not that it isn't the doctors responsibility to list the risks... and not that all doctors would divulge them..

I asked an oral surgeon prior to my oral surgery I had a few years ago what the risks were to his surgery. He got all offended and told me he was a good surgeon. I actually did end up having complications during that surgery (tho I used a different doctor who did divulge me the risks)

I don't really think that - that doctor that I wouldn't use deserves to lose his license for likely not charting enough and not properly informing me of my risks.. I think he deserves to be supervised. I think under supervision, he might do crap that deserves him to lose his license.. or he might not.. he might just be crappy at talking to people sometimes.

I think that would be a good punishment for these doctors who do not properly inform and chart (supervision).

Frankly, they already fail to write everything down. They make crap up if they forget to chart, or they forget to make up a chart.

The way our current system works is stupid.. but that doesn't make this doctor particularly stupid..

He's probably just under fire because he's not a nurse up his ass to write down every move he makes.

In my opinion, we should just start really recording things in medicine.. REALLY recording them.. so docs don't have to pretend to write things down. I'd have no objection to all of my medical appointments being on oral tape. None at all.

August 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEnilea

If Dr. Biter was ONLY doing what most doctors do, I wouldn't be so perturbed. But, he has done *much* more and as soon as the other OB cases are heard (if he doesn't lose his license on this go 'round) OR when the mamas are ready to tell their stories... two of whom have the floor here as soon as they are ready... the parts of the stories that I know will find their way to your knowledge, too.

And you frickin' bet. Audio or even VIDEO appointments would be fabulous.

August 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Finally... NGM, admire your honesty. What about all the money people have donated for the "birth center"?

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterguest

Yeah, what OF that money? I don't know. Anyone?

August 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

It was quite clear in the beginning. Something as simple as posting (him/his people) that the money would be placed into his personal account...it was on one or both of his websites (I love Dr Biter and another one). I don't remember the wording....some loose statement that anyone trusting him would assume that he would put it towards his birth center. Was an actual birth center specific fund ever set up or was it always his personal account? The first BC site fell through. There was supposed to be another one...is there? is there any acounting of that money? I never donated but I feel badly for those that did. The only thing that rings in my head (and has since last years drive for donations is the number of cases he has had to hire defense for...I cannot imagine the mounting legal fees$$$...then there's malpractice insurance..$$$$

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterguest

Yeah, I don't know any of those answers and am sure no one would tell me if I asked. (No big surprise, there.) You might be in the loop more than me! If *you* find out, please do tell.

August 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Dr Biter destroyed my uterus by leaving it over 80% covered in scarring with patchy bits of lining remaining after treating my miscarriage. I have had 4 surgeries to try and repair what he did. I am now pursuing surrogacy. It's been painful these last two years to listen to how wonderful he is. He is a very dangerous doctor and I truly hope he cannot ever do this to another woman ever again.
Thank you for writing this and sharing this case against him.

September 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Sam, I am so, so sorry for your pain and suffering. And I apologize if some of that came from me.

September 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

A lot were and continue to be charmed by his bedside manner. Even though when all is said and done, financially he will have cost me over $120K in my pursuit for a second child, my only hope is for him to never practice medicine again. I might add that there is another woman I know who was also damaged by him in the same manner as me. I am just thankful that this case shows this man for who he truly is and we finally get a voice.

September 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSam

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