L Lewis Wall- inside the mind of a white savior nobody asked for or wanted

The Wrong Side Of The Speculum
6 min readFeb 24, 2021

If you’ve ever wondered what a white savior complex personified would look like, look no further. Meet L Lewis Wall, a professor of Sociocultural Anthropology and of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University.

In 1995, L Lewis Wall founded the Worldwide Fistula Fund and has been recognized for his charity work and community service surrounding black women and vesicovaginal fistulas. Before you run and nominate him for sainthood there is a disturbing underbelly to his work that we need to talk about.

For some strange reason, Wall has a concerning admiration for and penchant for defending James Marion Sims, who some would call the father of modern gynecology, others would more accurately describe him as a slaveholder, a racist even by 1800s standards, a torturer, one of the most horrifically unethical physicians to ever disgrace the earth, and quite possibly a serial killer.

In order to understand why L Lewis Wall is a garbage person, you first need to understand who James Marion Sims really was and what he did, so to briefly summarize Sims he was a physician from Lancaster County, South Carolina who started practicing medicine after a whopping year and 3 months of schooling, he relocated to Montgomery Alabama after killing his first 2 patients. in 1845 he started experimenting on black women trying to cure vaginal fistula, his patients (read victims) endured hours of surgery without any anesthesia or pain relief of any kind, some he operated on up 30 times, we only know three of his victim’s names, Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey, most of them were still teenagers when Sims took ownership over them and performed his horrific experiments. He also had a penchant for experimenting on black children and would use a shoe-making tool to pry their bones apart and loosen their skulls because he thought it would make them smarter. Sims believed like many racist assholes at the time that black people didn’t feel pain the same as white people did and thus didn’t need anesthesia or pain relief, and felt they were also less intelligent than white people, which he attributed to their skulls growing to fast.

Once he perfected his surgical technique through the torture of black women and children he moved on to practice on white women and went on to build the first women’s hospital in New York, he still did experiments and practiced unethical and conventional medical techniques. When his patients died he often blamed it on “the sloth and ignorance of their mothers and the black midwives who attended them.” We don’t know how many of Sims victims actually consented to the surgeries because he didn’t feel that was important to keep records of, but in order for consent to work the patient would need the ability to say yes or no, and it was unlikely any of those enslaved women had that ability, thus making a Sims a rapist as well.

We know for a fact that many of Sim’s patients died and died horrible deaths at that as a direct result of Sims sick mind and murderous actions, we can confirm at least 3 were killed by Sims, which according to legal criteria makes a James Marion Sims a serial killer. Serial killers as defined by legal criteria as a person who murders 3 or more people over a period of time of longer than a month, whose killings are for psychological or sexual gratification, and usually have a ritualistic aspect.

Now that we understand Sims a little bit better, we can talk about L Lewis Wall.

Much of Wall’s work seems to be dedicated to defending James Marion Sims and justifying his actions, its rare to find an article Wall is involved in that doesn’t mention Sims and how poorly he’s been treated by modern critics.

Wall was quoted in an interview with PFDweek saying

“much of what has been written about Sims in the last 40 years is superficial, inaccurate, distorted, and taken out of context”

and wrote an entire piece for The National Center for Biotechnology Information defending Sims that includes such gems as

“ Numerous modern authors have attacked Sims’s medical ethics, arguing that he manipulated the institution of slavery to perform ethically unacceptable human experiments on powerless, unconsenting women.”

In order to attack something, it has to first exist, which Sims medical ethics did not, as far as the rest, yeah, no shit sherlock. He did do those things and deserves to be attacked, and in my personal opinion, anybody who can defend the actions of Sims has no business in the medical profession and should probably seek the help of a mental health professional.

“the charges that have been made against Sims are largely without merit. Sims’s modern critics have discounted the enormous suffering experienced by fistula victims,”

At this point, Wall is basically admitting he simps for Sims as the kids would say and is just ignoring insurmountable evidence that Sims was a narcissistic sociopath who murdered, raped, and tortured for his own gratification, to satisfy a demented savior complex just like many psychopathic doctors before and after him. Sims was like a pyromaniac who becomes a firefighter for the joy of watching things burn, and any medical advancements he made were purely a side-effect of him pandering to his raging god complex.

“In interpreting these historical events, some modern writers have denounced Sims with the kind of righteous indignation that is usually heard only from pulpits”

To be perfectly honest if you can speak about the atrocities Sims committed against humanity with anything but disgust and indignation there is something very wrong with you. If you don’t denounce serial killing, human experimentation, and torture, you are a sick piece of shit and have absolutely no business in the medical profession.

“critics present a picture of Sims as a cold, brutal, calculating misogynist who carried out a series of unwarranted surgical experiments on unwilling but helpless slaves in pursuit of his own self advancement.”

And by critics, I think Wall means people with normal functioning human brains who understand what a serial killer is.

Imagine if one were to say these things about any other serial killer? imagine if I went around saying “well some of Ted Bundy’s victims willingly got into his car so they must have been ok with being raped and murdered” or “Ricard Ramiez was just misunderstood”. I would get torn apart for saying that and rightfully so, because it’s horribly disrespectful to the victims, survivors, and their family members.

Imagine the outrage if one were to say “Yeah the holocaust was bad, but think of all the medical advancements that came from it?” the career of any person who said that would be demolished in a matter of seconds. So why is it ok for Wall to speak about slavery and black lives like this? Why is he still just minding his own business as a professor and not getting called out?

After reading these quotes from Wall, I am left feeling like he’s nothing more than the geriatric equivalent of a 12-year-old on TikTok making Ted Bundy edits with hearts and glitter just because Zac Efron played him a movie, his quotes leave little doubt that he’s a fanboy for a serial killer.

I am left feeling both concerned for his mental state, and saddened that this is the standard we as a society are setting forth for the future of reproductive health, this man who is trying to claim that a killer who performed brutal and horrific human experiments is just misunderstood and that people who criticize him are just launching meritless attacks against him, and that a man who claimed that black people don’t feel pain was not racist, is not only a professor who has taught our future doctors but also owns an organization focused on African women, black women.

L Lewis Wall is the living, breathing, definition of a white savior.

A white person who claims to love and support communities of color, while holding problematic at best- racist at worst- views about communities of color all the while using their activism as a self-serving tool.

Wall has clearly never even bothered to google the black lives matter movement and figure out the simple fact that white people need to stop speaking for the black community and telling them they should forgive their oppressors, even when those racist oppressive people have shown no sign of remorse or change.

I can’t view anyone who doesn’t hate Sims and violently denounce his actions as vile and cruel as anything more than a serial killer apologist and likely a racist to boot. Wall’s views are extremely problematic and disturbing and should be discredited, not supported by major health organizations.

We need to start prioritizing the voices and experiences of people of color over the worn-out and uneducated opinions of white men in positions of power, with savior complexes.

Perhaps Wall is so happy to go to bat for Sims because he isn’t all that different from Sims in mindset and his view of people of color?



The Wrong Side Of The Speculum

a survivor, a fighter, a lover of coffee, a patient advocate, asexual and proud, has been known to go on rants that can get a little angry.