The Gift I Received June 1, 2012

A few hours ago, the following was posted on a forum of Los Angeles birth doulas. Doulas, mind you, not midwives. I wonder why? Is it because I have resumed attempting to work as a doula? I am not a member of the forum but several friends forwarded the message to me.

I really don’t know what to say. So I will just say this: I stand by my version of the story which is found at

And my response to the widely diverging stories between what is below and court testimony… making me wonder if the email is even authentic:

If you have questions about me, PLEASE ASK ME. I’m an open book. Yet the people who keep vilifying me never speak to me. I feel very sorry for their hearts to be filled with so much hate that they would want to continue to attack me and see me so ruined. I am heartbroken by Elizabeth Bachner (and her “source”) that she would post something of this nature on a large forum without confronting me with it first or even notifying me that it existed. Very painful thing to do to another woman indeed. :*(Everything I stand by is contained in court documents. If anyone wants proof of anything just ask. My hope is that, like me, you are tired of all of this drama and couldn’t care less. I’m too tired to fish through this long message and respond to every point. I’ve been kicked so many times it’s becoming normal. I really would like it to stop. I cannot put words to the grief, pain and devastation this whole five year long ordeal has brought me. And because my only motivation was love and to help, I walk away believing I should have never been so naive as to serve birthing families. Just what we need when there is a shortage of birth workers. May it never happen to another birth student.

I hope that my silence will not cast a shadow on my integrity. I am choosing to not waste time defending myself when I could be spending precious time building up other women.



Hello Ladies,

I received this from a friend who is very involved in the birthing community.

She received it directly from the mother involved with Katie McCall’s case. I

am forwarding it here as information, NOT as a personal opinion nor as gossip,

as I feel it is important for everyone in the community to know about this

letter as we might be hearing about it from clients, friends and colleagues.

I have uploaded the pdf file to the group as well as copying and pasting it

below for convenience.

Warmly, Elizabeth

p.s. the mother has asked for her personal information to be removed from the

original email, that is the only thing that has been edited.

Elizabeth Bachner I Midwife, Acupuncturist & Birthing Coach

1445 N. Gardner Street I Los Angeles, CA 90046 I 310.704.3500 I




> Begin forwarded message:


> From: J(text removed)

> Subject: Katie McCall Case

> Date: June 1, 2012 2:49:37 PM PDT

> To: (text removed)


> Hello (names removed),


> Next week, Katie will face the California Medical Board to regain her license,

and she’s currently appealing her guilty ruling from last year’s trial. Before

she garners more support based on the untrue picture she has created, I wanted

to give you my own words about the case, and have attached a statement that

explains what happened.


> Please feel free to share it as you deem appropriate, or to just use it for

reference if questions arise. My interest isn’t really that it becomes widely

read, but that the information is available for birth professionals and families

who might choose to work with or birth with her in the future.


> I’ve tried to be as clear and concise as possible, but it’s still quite long

because I wanted to cover so many points. As I mentioned before, please do not

attach my name to it in any way.


> If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them. You can contact me

via email or call me at (text removed).


> Thanks, and blessings,


> J(text removed)


Last year, a California court determined that midwife Katie McCall was guilty of

practicing medicine without a license. Following the ruling, Ms. McCall began

circulating a story that painted her as the victim of an overzealous legal

system attempting to restrict homebirth freedoms, and by extension, other

freedoms as well. This story picked up momentum, becoming featured in mainstream

media as well as homebirth and women’s rights blogs. Unfortunately, as the story

spread, its sharers accepted Ms. McCall’s version without question and did not

stop to verify it against the facts of the case.

I was the material witness in this case, the mother whose birth Katie attended.

I am a committed supporter of homebirth, midwifery, and birth choice. My

experience, and the experience of those present with me at the birth, is

dramatically different from the story told by Ms. McCall. I do not have any

reason to be dishonest about this and I don’t intend to profit from the

situation in any way.

It has been several years since this all began. In that time, I have remained

quiet, waiting for Ms. McCall to adopt a posture of humility and assume

responsibility for her actions. She has never done so, and has instead

maintained that she saved our lives and has done nothing wrong. Since she is now

seeking a reinstatement of her license, and has the potential to practice again,

it is time for me to confront these untruths. I hope that my statement will

clear up some of the misconceptions around this case, and I ask that you please

take a moment to hear the facts of the story. What I am sharing is consistent

with court documents and the statements of at least two witnesses, and I hope

will give a more complete account of the actual case.

I also feel great compassion toward Katie. This case has undoubtedly been very

difficult for her and her family, and it must be something that burdens her

daily. I would not wish this situation on anyone, and it has been painful for

everyone involved. Because of this, I feel the most loving and honest thing to

do is to speak the truth.

The details I am sharing with you reflect my initial statement to the California

Medical Board made several years ago, and my testimony in court; my story is

consistent and has not changed. Below, I address the claims surrounding the

case. Some have been made by Katie McCall directly, while others are erroneous

details that have sprung up in the process of supporting her (the claims are in

italics; my responses follow). The statement below is lengthy, but I ask that

you please read it in its entirety in order to fully understand the truth of the


The family involved in the case was happy with the care they received, and are

not the ones who filed the report.

We were not happy with the care we received. Many unprofessional actions were

taken by Ms. McCall, and we failed to put them all together before it was too

late. We trusted her, and regret doing so.

The initial report was filed by an acupuncturist who was present at the birth.

She filed with our complete support and cooperation shortly after the birth. We

chose not to file a report at that time because we wanted to focus on our new


Katie McCall was asked by clients to be their midwife. The exchange was not for


After interviewing several midwives, my husband and I agreed to hire Katie and

pay her asking fee of $1,500, which was explicitly stated in a contract provided

by Ms. McCall. This amount was paid to her in full.

Several statements report that I was a friend. I was a client and did not know

her in any other capacity.

The agreement was that Katie would be hired as a student midwife which would

count toward her training, and she would bring a preceptor (supervising midwife)

to the birth.

This is true and included in the contract. Katie explained that there were three

midwives under whom she worked, and that if one was unavailable for the birth,

the others would be contacted.

At the time of the contract, the preceptor was contacted, and an agreement was

made that she would attend the birth and receive money and sign contracts when

she arrived as she lived farther away than would allow this exchange to happen

ahead of time.

The preceptor was not contacted at the time of the contract. Neither I nor my

husband had any contact with the preceptor prior to the birth, and had no such

arrangement to exchange money with her. We had already paid Katie in the form of

two checks made out in her name, the last of which was paid several weeks before

the birth. Both of these checks were cashed.

The contracts mentioned were signed by my husband and me nearly two months

before the birth. This would have been ample time to mail them to a preceptor

for her signature, which Katie did not do.

Katie McCall was not paid by the clients, or was paid only $200.

Katie was paid in full in advance of the birth, in the amount of $1,500, on the

schedule that she had requested. At one point, she claimed that she had

accidentally ruined one of the checks in the wash, and asked for a replacement.

My husband and I verified through our bank that she had already cashed the

check, and provided her with the tracking number that proved this. She did not

mention it again.

At the time of the birth, the supervising midwife was called, but was


Katie claimed to have called the midwife, but this was never witnessed by

anyone. This midwife was on the witness list and prepared to testify under oath

that she was never called.

The supervising midwife had another mother in labor, and had already committed

to that birth.

Katie did not tell us this during our child’s birth, although she later

testified to it in court. The midwife involved was prepared to testify under

oath that she was not attending another birth, nor had she planned to attend our

birth, nor had she ever heard of us. All of these details were fabricated by Ms.


I later learned that none of the women listed as Katie’s preceptors were even

licensed to practice midwifery in the state of California. This means that even

if Katie had contacted one of them, she would not have fulfilled her commitment

to provide a licensed midwife at the birth.

Other preceptors were called and no other preceptor (supervising midwife) was


No one witnessed Ms. McCall contacting other preceptors, and there is no

evidence that this occurred. No other midwives reported receiving a call.

Katie told one witness present that she called only one midwife, who was unable

to attend because she was home caring for her sick children. Katie stated that

she had a long list of preceptors, but preferred not to call them because she

was confident she could handle the birth herself. According to this witness, Ms.

McCall then put away her list of midwives and made no other attempts to contact

them. My husband and I were not present when this occurred and were not made

aware of this.

One of the three midwives Katie claimed to work with had never supervised Katie

at a birth, and had no arrangement with her to be listed as a preceptor. She has

never been involved with her in any professional capacity.

Out of the 350 births attended up to that point as a doula and as a student,

Katie had never attended a birth without a supervising midwife before.

This is untrue. The birth Katie attended on Tuesday, November 22, just prior to

mine, had no preceptor or licensed midwife present. It was just Katie and the

family. On arrival to my home, she told everyone present that she had just

delivered the baby and repaired a perineal tear alone, and the mother later

confirmed that this had been the case.

Another couple who had Katie at their birth without a preceptor, in which the

mother and baby experienced complications, were scheduled to testify at the

trial as well. It has happened at least two other times. These women have not

yet come forward to discuss their experiences. My hope is that at some point

they will.

The client was told that there was not a midwife available and that she should

transfer to the hospital.

This is false. We were not told that a midwife would not be present, and were

led to believe that everything was being handled as agreed upon.

This is the most striking claim made by Ms. McCall, and one that was not

generated until well after the birth. When I arrived to testify at the trial, I

expected that our experiences might differ slightly with regard to some details,

but that much of our testimonies would be congruent. I was stunned when the

District Attorney

informed me of Katie’s defense: that on arrival to our birth, she had told us no

midwife would be attending and that we should transfer. This never happened. At

no point in the labor or post-birth period did Ms. McCall recommend a transfer.

Three witnesses corroborate this and testified to it in court under oath.

If Ms. McCall had recommended a transfer, we would have transferred. This is

especially true of my husband, who would have been entirely uncomfortable

without a properly qualified midwife, and would have insisted on going to the

hospital immediately.

Katie looked on during the labor and was minimally involved, not wanting to

practice midwifery without a license.

Katie performed multiple functions of a midwife throughout the labor and birth,

including cervical checks, doppler readings, administering pitocin, and suturing

perineal tears. Never did she express any reticence to me or my husband about

serving in this capacity because of the lack of supervising midwife.

When Katie recommended a transfer, the client refused to transfer to the


I did not refuse to transfer. A transfer was never recommended. If a transfer

had been recommended for any legitimate reason, I would have transferred.

The clients requested that Katie stay with them despite the recommendation to


We made no such request, assuming that Katie would be attending the birth as

agreed upon.

Katie’s statements give the impression that this all happened very quickly,

which was not the case. She became aware of my labor two days before the actual

birth, giving her ample time to contact a supervising midwife or other licensed

birth professional. Once at my home, she was present there for over 10 hours.

During that time, if she had assessed that none of her preceptors would be

available, she could have explained this to us and given us the option of

transferring or contacting a midwife outside of her preceptor list; she did not.

Katie was not present when the baby crowned and the head was born.

Katie was present through the pushing and crowning phase, also providing

perineal support as the baby’s head emerged and pulling on the head as it was


The birth resulted in a shoulder dystocia and a subsequent severe postpartum

hemorrhage. Katie treated these conditions and saved the life of the mother and

the baby.

The diagnosis of shoulder dystocia is highly questionable, since some of the

obvious warning signs were not present. The diagnosis was also not confirmed by

a medical professional. Katie initially treated this suspected issue with

techniques contra-indicated for the condition, such as pulling on the baby’s

head when it emerged and failing to wait for the next imminent contraction to

birth the baby’s shoulders and body.

It is likely that Katie contributed to or directly caused the postpartum

hemorrhage by removing the placenta prematurely, with ungloved hands. After this

occurred, I began to hemorrhage severely. The extensive bleeding was largely

ignored by Ms. McCall until it became potentially life-threatening. She did not

treat it immediately as has been suggested. Instead, she did not attempt to

treat the bleeding until the acupuncturist who was present expressed distress

over my appearance. The hemorrhage was initially stopped by myself and the

witness present, and again when I began to bleed minutes later. After the

bleeding resumed the second time, Ms. McCall administered a shot of pitocin.

Ms. McCall eventually called an ambulance and the patient transferred after the


Katie never called an ambulance or any other medical support personnel, nor did

she instruct anyone else to do so. Earlier in the birth, Katie had requested the

presence of a woman who was considering becoming a doula to provide labor

support under Katie. She had worked as an EMT but did not serve in this capacity

or provide medical assistance at the birth.

Despite heavy blood loss and a severe perineal tear, Katie did not recommend

that we transfer to a hospital for treatment. She instead chose to suture the

tear herself, which later led to serious complications. At no point did she

suggest that she was unqualified to perform these maneuvers, and at no point did

she recommend a

hospital transfer after the birth. If my husband and I had been made aware of

the severity of these injuries, we would have sought medical help immediately.

Katie respected the rights of the birthing couple and honored their choice not

to transfer.

This was never our choice to make, since she did not recommend a transfer or

give us a true appraisal of the situation. Our options were limited rather than

respected because of Ms. McCall’s actions.

This is a victimless crime. The mom and the baby were healthy and were not

involved in the case.

Both my child and I were injured as a result of our treatment at the birth.

Our family is involved in this case. We traveled to a state that has no

jurisdiction over us, and testified when we had no legal obligation to do so. We

have no intention of filing a civil case, and therefore no potential financial

gain. I am legally entitled to damages, which amount to many thousands of

dollars, but I am not seeking them. I also have grounds to sue Katie McCall for

both fraud and breach of contract, but have not done so. I have nothing to gain

from this. Testifying was humiliating and a tremendous invasion of our family’s

privacy. In spite of all this, we feel strongly about speaking the truth, and

chose to be involved.

Ms. McCall was reported to the Medical Board by a doula at the prompting of two


Katie was reported by an acupuncturist who was present at the birth, not a


The acupuncturist’s acquaintance with “two midwives” had nothing to do with her

desire to file a report. After deciding to file, the acupuncturist briefly

consulted her own midwife to ask which governing board should be contacted. She

did not speak with any other midwives.

Midwives threatened the doula’s [acupuncturist’s] career or pressured her in

some way in order to convince her to file.

The acupuncturist present at the birth lives in a completely different state

from the midwife she initially consulted, and she was in no way under someone’s

influence or at risk of having her career threatened by not filing this report.

She has not worked for any midwives in any capacity before, during, or since

this incident.

Further, when she filed the report, she believed she was reporting a licensed

midwife for gross negligence. She did not realize Ms. McCall was unlicensed, and

learned this only after filing the report.

This woman’s integrity has been maligned in a number of forums, and this is not

only unfair, but unrepresentative of who she is as a person. She has maintained

the highest professional and ethical standards throughout her career and the

trial process, and was named an “expert witness” due to her training and

expertise. She is also a home birthing mother herself. After witnessing the

irresponsible and unethical conduct of Ms. McCall, and knowing the danger she

might pose to future clients, she decided to alert someone. Her desire in filing

was to maintain the high standards set by the midwifery profession, and to

protect other families from similar treatment.

The acupuncturist filed the report and became involved in the subsequent trial

at great personal and emotional expense, and has nothing to gain from her

involvement. Anyone familiar with the rigors of the trial process will realize

that it doesn’t make sense to leave her own young child, travel across the

country, testify and be cross examined, and expose herself to public scrutiny

without an excellent reason. She wanted to protect birthing women, and had a

personal and professional obligation to do so.

The following details may be absent from trial or court records, but I would

like to address them here:

After this incident, Ms. McCall eventually received her license and became a

fully certified midwife.

She received her license only because of a clerical error on the part of the

California Medical Board, which failed to properly search for her name (using

“Katie McCall” instead of “Katherine McCall”) during the licensing process. As a

result, they did not see the complaint filed against her or the investigation

which was in process. Katie McCall would not have been licensed had this error

not occurred.

Katie McCall refused to take a plea deal for a lesser charge.

Although Ms. McCall initially refused to plead guilty to a lesser charge in

exchange for leniency, this was not the case once the trial was underway.

Following the testimony of me and my husband, she and her attorney

sought a plea from the District Attorney who was prosecuting the case. At that

point it had become evident that her testimony was not the truth and that a

guilty verdict was likely. The DA refused the plea.

This case threatens doulas and laypeople who attend births. Midwives can be

charged with a felony for palpating a belly or taking blood pressure.

This is not an issue, unless those in attendance are hired specifically to

provide midwifery services and fail to do so. Laypeople are protected under good

samaritan laws and would not be subject to this sort of prosecution. Katie

McCall was not convicted of a felony for palpating a belly or taking blood

pressure. She was convicted for gross negligence, dishonesty, and

life-threatening actions at a birth, and for practicing medicine without a

license. These concerns are built on details that are simply not true.

This is all about the right to birth at home.

This is about one person who accepted money for a birth for which she claimed

there would be a preceptor, and never asked a preceptor to be present. She has

attended at least three births in this manner without a preceptor present. At no

time did she recommend a transfer, and at no time did I refuse to transfer. When

complications arose, Ms. McCall managed them poorly instead of recommending

transfer to a hospital for treatment. This is not about the right to birth at

home. This is about holding an individual accountable for her actions, and

preventing her from inflicting similar or worse treatment on others.

These stories are simply too different to be reconciled to each other; one of us

is speaking the truth, one is not. One of us gains nothing from lying, has no

motivation to do so, and has not sought publicity from the case in any way. The

other has everything to lose, and spent the trial and its aftermath scrambling

to change the story, to generate support under false pretenses, and to save her


It is tempting to curve this into an ideological battle to support our right to

birth at home (or wherever we desire). This right should be upheld and supported

by men and women all over our country without reservation. However, this case is

a poor example; it isn’t about our rights as home birthing parents. It is about

a woman who acted far beyond the boundaries of her training and the desires of

birthing parents, whose actions resulted in serious complications, and who then

proceeded to lie in court, and to all of you. It is about preserving the

integrity of midwifery, and protecting families from negligent practitioners.

Please distribute this statement in full as you see fit. My only request is that

readers respect my desire for privacy in this issue. Our family has already been

through so much, in a very public way, and so we now ask that our privacy be

maintained. Thank you.


About supportmidwifekatiemccall

Katie McCall was born at Pomona Valley Hospital in Southern California by scheduled c-section as a frank breech due to the current medical system insistence that breeches should always be delivered that way. Katie's father's family was filled with teachers, her mother's family was filled with healers. It is no surprise then, that she went on to have her own two children and spend her adult life involved in a combination of teaching and healing through midwifery, childbirth education, doula work and serving families in Southern California. Katie attended USC for her general education and then went on to study with the American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth to become a certified childbirth educator. Shortly thereafter, she certified as a birth doula (labor assistant) with the Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators. Katie was also mentored through a pregnancy and birth support business called The Birth Connection in Glendale, CA, which Katie later purchased and expanded to include a 1500 square foot education facility, retail store and birthing center. She enrolled in midwifery school and apprenticed with the midwives who ran the birth center as well as with midwives who attended homebirths. She sold her business to pursue her midwifery education full time in 2006 and passed her midwifery (NARM) exam to become a Certified Professional Midwife in 2008. She went on to gain her Midwifery License from the State of CA Medical Board in 2010. Katie has received supplementary education in lactation to become a lactation educator, vaginal birth after cesarean support, support of sexual abuse survivors, aromatherapy and is neonatal and CPR certified. She assisted over 500 couples through childbirth education and attended over 550 births as of 2011. As a Southern California native, she has a wide range of experience, serving mothers from diverse backgrounds. She believes her job is one of empowering women to develop their own trust and connection with their bodies and their babies during their own unique journey into motherhood. If she has learned anything through her experience with birth, it is that every birth is as different as the women who are laboring. On August 17th, 2011 Katharine “Katie” McCall, a licensed midwife, was convicted of practicing medicine with out a license for a 2007 birth she assisted as a student. The charge arose from a home birth where Katie's supervising midwife could not arrive because she was at another birth. Instead of leaving the family to birth unassisted, Katie stayed. She recommended that the family transfer to the hospital and the family refused. They were aware that she was only a student midwife and that she was unable to secure an overseeing mid View all posts by supportmidwifekatiemccall

5 responses to “The Gift I Received June 1, 2012

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