Saturday, July 05, 2008

Henci Goer responds as predicted

Henci Goer has made me look like I can predict the future.I have been waiting for several days for her to address the fact that the Johnson and Daviss study ACTUALLY showed that homebirth has a neonatal death rate that is triple that of hospital birth. Here's what I wrote 10 hours ago:
Head over to Henci Goer's "Normal" Birth Forum and see how she is struggling, too. I've made two main claims that she KNOWS are true. First she deleted the claims and the supporting data. Then she had the unmitigated gall to pretend that I hadn't presented the supporting data. That was easy for everyone to understand; THEY had already seen it. Therefore, she let me put the links back up. Over the last several days, she has struggled to come up with a response. She's apparently in a bind. She obviously knows what the truth is and does not want to be caught in a falsehood. On the other hand, she certainly does not want women to know that my claims are true.

I expect that her answer will be the usual mix of aspersions about my credentials, and some baffling, high faluntin' conglomeration of technical language that will mean nothing and will allow her to pretend she has answered when she has not. It would be much easier, and far more ethical, to simply tell the truth.
Here's how she finally responded:
...Anyone who wants a calm, reasoned, scholarly explanation of the caveats of making appropriate statistical comparisons with the MANA 2000 study should [read Understanding Birth Better]. It does a better job of responding to Tuteur than I can do, which is not surprising since the author is an epidemiologist, and I am not.

As for Amy's mention of other deaths that I omitted from my calculation, this is a prime example of how she misuses data. The "other deaths" were not neonatal deaths. They were intrapartum deaths and therefore were not relevant to a comparison with hospital-based neonatal deaths. Indeed, Amy's persistent confusion over what is encompassed by "neonatal deaths"--this is not the first time I have pointed this out to her in this Forum--brings to mind Andrew Zang's comment: "He [or, in this case, she] uses statistics the way a drunken man uses lamposts--more for support than illumination.
FACT: Johnson and Daviss have now "adjusted" their data to claim that the neonatal death rate at homebirth in 2000 was 1.1/1000. Goer has not disputed that and has not explained why they "suddenly" realized that they made a mistake in their own paper.

FACT: The neonatal death rate for low and moderate risk women in the hospital in 2000 was 0.34/1000. Therefore, the neonatal death rate at homebirth in 2000 was TRIPLE the neonatal death rate in the hospital. Goer has not denied that either.

She can try to change the subject, she can try to pretend it doesn't matter, she can cast insults in my direction, but no one is fooled.

Addendum (7/6, 1:17 PM): No doubt people will be shocked, shocked to learn that Henci Goer responded to the simple, direct questions by deleting them.
So here's where I am with this: Aside from responding to Amy's assertion that she is qualified to discuss mortality stats and I am not, I have deleted Amy's posts along with your responses to Amy's attacks on my integrity. ... I think there is enough information in this thread and the links and sources provided in the posts that anyone who wants to make their own evaluation of the Johnson and Daviss paper, can do so. Therefore, I would like first to thank those of you who contributed positively to the discussion and second to declare that we are done with the topic of the MANA 2000 stillbirth and neonatal mortality statistics.
She doesn't appear to think much of the intelligence of her own readers if she believes they will be fooled by this.

Even such a short paragraph contains a lie. I never said that Goer is unqualified to discuss statistics. Quite the contrary. I said that she is qualified to discuss statistics and therefore, she knows what I have claimed is true. That's why it is so important to expunge any reference to it.


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