Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Doctor's Family Surprised To Learn Dad Delivered Obama, So Is Dr. West's Family

The family of Dr. David Sinclair, who is listed as the doctor who delivered President Barack Obama according to the long-form birth certificate, was surprised and honored to learn their father had delivered Obama. Dr. Sinclair's son, Brian Sinclair who also became a doctor, attended the same high school as Obama in Honolulu but did not know him. The AP reports:

The family of a Honolulu doctor whose signature appears on President Barack Obama's birth certificate woke up to the news Wednesday that the late obstetrician had delivered Obama.

Relatives of Dr. David Sinclair told The Associated Press that they were "blown away" and "honored." . . .

Sinclair had an obstetrics and gynecology practice in Honolulu and delivered babies all over Hawaii when Obama was born in 1961, said his son Karl Sinclair, 55, of Kailua. The doctor retired in the late 1990s and died in 2003 at 81.

"What a shocker," said Karl Sinclair, one of six children. "It's amazing. I'm blown away by it, quite honestly."

They found out because one of their relatives was awake at 3 a.m. watching the news and saw the signature, said Dawn Yoshimura-Sinclair, who is married to another Sinclair son, Dr. Brian Sinclair, a neuroradiologist.

"We can attest to the fact that it is indeed dad's signature," Yoshimura-Sinclair said. "It's not a common name over here. There's no confusion that it was dad."

Relatives said while they previously never made the connection, looking back it makes sense because there were few obstetricians in Honolulu at the time.

"He never turned anyone away," said Karl Sinclair's wife, Julie Sinclair. "Whether they could pay or not."

Born in Portland, Ore., Sinclair moved to Hawaii as a child because his father was an engineer who helped build Wilson tunnel on Oahu. The doctor joined the military after the Pearl Harbor bombing, relatives said. He was a military pilot and witnessed so much death during the war that he became a doctor so he could have a career focusing on life, family members said.

He went to the University of Hawaii after the war and then went to medical school at the University of California at San Francisco, where he completed his residency.

Sinclair returned to Honolulu with his wife and children in 1960. He delivered babies mostly at what is now known as Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, just a couple miles from his home and where Obama was born.

Sinclair's widow, Ivalee, still lives in their English tudor which features a view of the Honolulu skyline and where the Sinclairs raised their six children. A shady avocado tree is planted next to plumeria flowers fronting the home that is listed on the state historic registry. A framed black-and-white portrait of the doctor and his family sits over the fireplace in the living room.

The doctor never spoke about his patients, his children said, but they imagine his father would be thrilled one of the babies he delivered grew up to be president.

"I'm just honored and proud of my father," Karl Sinclair said.

"I think it's great," said Dr. Brian Sinclair, who pursued a career in medicine because of his father. "Hawaii was a very small place back then so I guess I'm not surprised."

Brian Sinclair graduated from the same high school as Obama but didn't know him personally. The Sinclair family includes Obama supporters and those who didn't vote for him, they said.

Karl Sinclair said he hopes the birth certificate will end the speculation.

"To me, the birth certificate doesn't lie," he said. "I think that should put everything to bed."
Perhaps the birth certificate doesn't lie, but a former school teacher of Obama's does? Barbara Nelson recounted at the occasion of Obama's inauguration the 10-year-old student of her's at Punahou, his father and the doctor she says delivered him, whose name is not Dr. David Sinclair:

When Barack Hussein Obama places his hand on the Bible today to take the oath of office as 44th president of the United States, Barbara Nelson of Kenmore will undoubtedly think back to the day he was born. It was Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu.

“I may be the only person left who specifically remembers his birth. His parents are gone, his grandmother is gone, the obstetrician who delivered him is gone,” said Nelson, referring to Dr. Rodney T. West, who died in February at the age of 98. Here’s the story: Nelson was having dinner at the Outrigger Canoe Club on Waikiki Beach with Dr. West, the father of her college friend, Jo-Anne. Making conversation, Nelson turned to Dr. West and said: “‘So, tell me something interesting that happened this week,’” she recalls.

His response: “Well, today, Stanley had a baby. Now that’s something to write home about.”

The new mother was Stanley (later referred to by her middle name of Ann) Dunham, and the baby was Barack Hussein Obama.

“I penned the name on a napkin, and I did write home about it,” said Nelson, knowing that her father, Stanley A. Czurles, director of the Art Education Department at Buffalo State College, would be interested in the “Stanley” connection.

She also remembers Dr. West mentioning that the baby’s father was the first black student at the University of Hawaii and how taken he was by the baby’s name.

“I remember Dr. West saying ‘Barack Hussein Obama, now that’s a musical name,’” said Nelson, who grew up in Kenmore and went to Hawaii in 1959 to be in Jo-Anne’s wedding party. When Nelson was offered a job as a newspaper reporter and photographer at her friend’s wedding reception, it led to her living in Hawaii for 47 years. She returned to Kenmore in 2006.

Ten years after that memorable birth announcement, Nelson would hear the Obama name again. This time, the father, now a Kenyan government official, was coming to speak at the Punahou School in Honolulu where Nelson was teaching and where his 10-year-old son was a newly enrolled fifth-grader.

“Dr. Obama had this lovely, attentive manner,” she said. “When he answered the children’s questions, he would do it as a story, which is the way they do it in Kenya.

“His son, whom he hadn’t seen in eight years, seemed as fascinated as we all were,” said Nelson, who went on to be a high school principal, a harpist, a watercolor artist and poet.

A few years later, Nelson encountered “Barry” again, when she watched high school basketball games, where her students played.

“The team came alive when he got on the court,” she said. “He was not only quick and graceful, but he could see the pattern and zero in on the opening. Though he wasn’t a starter, he was a graceful, passionate athlete who played back-up forward. He had a definite presence on the court.
Websites seeking to debunct the so-called "birther" conspiracy theories relied on Nelson's claim that Dr. Rodney T. West recounted to her delivering the the son of the first black student at the University of Hawaii. "In 2009, a teacher at the Honolulu prep school attended by Barack Obama recalled discussing his birth with the obstetrician who had delivered him," Snopes claimed. See also here for confirmation that Dr. West practiced at the hospital at the time of Obama's birth as further proof he delivered Obama. Say it ain't so Barbara? Surely you wouldn't have made up a tall tail about our President just to see your name in print.

UPDATE: Barbara Nelson is now claiming she must have misunderstood what role Dr. West played in Obama's birth. "I don't know in what capacity [West] knew about this particular birth," Nelson told WND.  "Being one of the leaders in obstetrics in Hawaii, he could have had physical or informational access to all of the obstetrics [on the islands]," she told WND. "The discussion centered on the "peculiarity of a woman named Stanley," she said. "I just said tell me something [that has happened]," she said. "And he says Stanley had a baby, and that's something to write home about." Of course, the Obama folks were doing nothing to disabuse people from believing her claims that Dr. West delivered the baby two years ago when they wanted all of the media to interview her about the story she had to tell. Obama had the original birth certificate when he wrote "Dreams From My Father" in 1995, or so he wrote. He never explained what happened to that document. Naturally, the news media wouldn't dare ask that question.


interestedparty said...

Well, this is just speculation, but what about this so-called story is not?

Doing the math, Dr. S was 39 in 1961 and Dr. W was 51. Since Dr. S had been a pilot in the war and then went to college (4 years) and then went to med school (4 years) and then did his residency (2 years) and then (presumably) may have done even more study to specialize as an OB, and then moved to Hawaii in 1961, (may have even become an OB in order to go to Hawaii, he could have been still under supervision (of Dr. West, the attending OB) in the delivery room. He would have signed the cert, but Dr. W would still have been very involved in the event and privy to details like the baby's name, etc.

My mother's birth certificate story is stranger than this one and no one gave her any grief over it.

Advance Indiana said...

That story would be easier to buy today than back then when it would have been highly likely only one doc was in the room. Dr. West recalled a lot of details according to Nelson that really stuck in his mind as if he had hands-on involvement in the child's delivery. The name would have stuck in the mind of the doc who signed the birth certificate more than someone who was simply supervising other docs in delivery.