Octomom Nadya Suleman didn't know she was 'human guinea pig,' attorney says at hearing
The Beverly Hills fertility doctor who assisted Nadya Suleman in conceiving octuplets testified Thursday that she had volunteered for an experimental study that he later wrote about in a scholarly article.
But according to testimony at a state medical board hearing, Dr. Michael Kamrava failed to get Suleman's informed consent before using an experimental embryo implantation technique and was cited by federal regulators.
Kamrava, who also testified last month, took the stand again Thursday to argue that Suleman knew she was participating in a study. The doctor said Suleman wanted to participate in the study and that he spoke with her “extensively” about it.
“She heard about it and she volunteered,” he said.
“Where in this form does it say that?” said Deputy Atty. Gen. Judith Alvarado, who said Suleman had unknowingly been used as a "human guinea pig."
Kamrava's medical license could be revoked if it is determined at the hearing before Administrative Law Judge Daniel Juarez in downtown Los Angeles that he was grossly negligent in his treatment of Suleman and two other female patients: a 48-year-old who suffered complications after she became pregnant with quadruplets and a 42-year-old diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer after receiving fertility treatments.
Tartaglino Besone said she was investigating whether he had obtained proper consent from patients, including Suleman, for a procedure that involved using a camera to film inside the uterus when embryos are placed.
“There was a lot of confusion about when the study was conducted,” she said, noting that Kamrava initially told her he had conducted the study with a lab technician from 2000 to 2008, then later said he did it with an embryologist and that it only lasted until 2004.
In all, Kamrava helped Suleman conceive six children before the octuplets were born last year. Suleman is not scheduled to testify before the medical board.
Alvarado pressed Kamrava until he admitted that the consent forms he supplied to Suleman did not specify that she was a test subject.
After questioning Kamrava, Alvarado added a 10th charge to the accusation against him for dishonesty and corrupt acts related to failing to obtain patient consent.
“This doctor was doing investigational studies on human subjects without giving them a true informed consent,” she said.
After closing arguments Thursday, Juarez is expected to submit his opinion to the state medical board, which will make the final decision about Kamrava.
-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Top photo: Dr. Michael Kamrava at a hearing before the state medical board last month in Los Angeles. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Bottom photo: Nadya Suleman, pictured in a 2006 KTLA segment on fertility clinics. Credit: Associated Press