‘Octomom’ doctor's license to be revoked, state medical board rules
The medical license of the Beverly Hills fertility doctor who assisted Nadya Suleman in conceiving octuplets will be revoked next month, the Medical Board of California announced Wednesday.
The panel ruled that Dr. Michael Kamrava “did not exercise sound judgment" in the transfer of 12 embryos to Suleman. Kamrava was accused by the attorney general’s office of being 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.
“Public protection is paramount,” the board said. “The board is not assured that oversight through probation is enough, and having weighed the above, has determined that revocation of respondent’s certificate is necessary to protect the public.” The revocation takes effect July 1.
The medical board rejected many of arguments submitted by Kamrava's lawyer, including the suggestion that Suleman failed to follow through in terminating an excessive number of fetuses. "To assign even a scintilla of responsibility to a patient who becomes pregnant and then elects not to follow through with a procedure that may jeopardize her (and possibly her family's) prized objective is troubling and telling," the board said.
The board also rejected the argument that publicity regarding Suleman's case would serve as a deterrent to Kamrava transferring excessive numbers of embryos in the future. The board pointed out that Kamrava acknowledged being distracted by bad press after Suleman's octuplets were born. He cited that as a reason for his failure to follow up on abnormal test results for the patient whose diagnosis of ovarian cancer was delayed.
"The board is not persuaded that relying on the public or the media to fulfill or supplement the board's public protection role is sound policy."
"This is not a one-patient case or a two-patient case; it is a three-patient case," the board said.
The medical board ruling supersedes a recommendation by an administrative law judge for a lesser disciplinary action of five years' probation.
Kamrava's lawyer, Henry Fenton, argued at a public hearing before the medical board last month that probation was reasonable. "Nobody died here. This is a good doctor. I argue he really learned his lesson," Fenton said at the time.
Fenton said the failure to follow up on the abnormal biopsy of the 42-year-old patient was an isolated incident.
"He said, 'Look ... it was the only time in my career I had forgotten.' It was just from the publicity of [Suleman's octuplets] ... that he forgot to tell her," Fenton said.
"We have an excellent physician who is very concerned, who admits his mistake," Fenton said.
-- Rong-Gong Lin II
Photo: Dr. Michael Kamrava during a Medical Board of California hearing on May 5 in Los Angeles. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press