[UPDATED with Court Appeal:] Michael Kamrava, Fertility Doctor, Loses License

UPDATE, JUNE 6, 8:08 A.M.:

An administrative law judge previously said

Michael Kamrava

, Octomom

Nadya Suleman

's fertility doctor, should keep his medical license, but the California Medical Board overruled that recommendation last month.

So, Kamrava has turned to another judge, this one at Los Angeles County Superior Court, to strike down the six-member Medical Board's ruling. Arguing revocation will impede his ability to make a living, Kamrava is asking the court to go along with the administrative law judge's recommendation for probation.

Without the court's intervention, Kamrava will lose his license on July 1. He can re-apply for one three years after that.

UPDATE, JUNE 6, 1:16 P.M.: In light of the case against Nadya Suleman's fertility doctor, a health reporter has issued a plea to his fellow journalists: Stop calling Octomom "Octomom."

No other mother of -uplets or "victim of medical misdeeds" have been as vilified as La Habra's single mother of 14, argues William Heisel, who has exposed problems with the fertility industry, the trade in human body parts and the use of illegal drugs in sports during a career in investigative journalism that has included stops at the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register.

Heisel, writing for USC Annenberg School for Communications & Journalim's health page, accused the media of having lost the moral high ground from the time Suleman gave birth to the world's longest-surviving octuplets in January 2009 through last week, when her fertility doctor Michael Kamrava was informed he would lost his license to practice medicine in California. Referring to her as Octomom, writes Heisel (who admitted to twice doing so himself), "dehumanized" Suleman.

The media could have reframed the Suleman story by coming down hard on Kamrava, whom Heisel maintained put the lives of three mothers (including Octomom) in danger. In other words, she should be reported on as a victim, not a willing participant in the multiple-birth madness. His conclusion:

Suleman went to Kamrava as a troubled patient. A woman who wanted to have more children than any single parent could handle, she was treated instead by her physician as a customer. And now the media have chosen to treat her as a criminal.

At a minimum, she should be given the dignity of a real name.

"Fame whore" probably would not be a suitable alternative for Heisel.

UPDATE, JUNE 3, 3:19 P.M.: The News Gods have conspired to prevent me from finding a new photo for this update, as Octomom Nadya Suleman is reportedly holding a bikini car wash to save her La Habra house (again).

And the single mother of 14 has really dipped deep into the D-list to pluck the "friends" who will be on hand (and in thong) to help her. The only one I'd heard of was Tila Tequila. I don't believe the others would bat a Dr. Drew casting director's eye: Capri

Octo-ho's (from left): Kowal, Gessert, Anderson.
Octo-ho's (from left): Kowal, Gessert, Anderson.

TMZ fills in the blanks: Anderson is the porn star who claimed Charlie Sheen roughed her up in a New York hotel last October. Ah, remember the good old days? Before we knew exactly how sick Charlie was?

Gessert was an unknown Calabassas waitress until she was seen leaving a restaurant with Kim Kardashian's then-boyfriend Reggie Bush one night in March 2010. The next morning, Gessert was spotted again, this time making the walk of shame from the USC football-program destroyer's house.

And Kowal was one of Mel Gibson's alleged mistresses. Wait a second, I think I blogged about her before. Hold on . . . Oh, yeah:

Fortunately for Octomom's La Habra neighbors, who have had it up to here with this shit, she's planning to hold her un-star-studded

Kamrava is accused of gross negligence for implanting 60 embryos in Suleman, including 12 in her last treatment that resulted in the single mother of six giving birth to another eight children.

Besides Alvarado, Food and Drug Administration investigator Donna Tartaglino Besone accused Kamrava of conducting human experiments on Octomom and another woman. 

The doctor has testified that he always shoots for single births from each set of embryos he implants, and that while he thought it was unusual Suleman wanted to have 10 children, he did not believe it was his place to judge. Kamrava also testified she was taking hormones to encourage fertility before they met in 1997.

An administrative-law judge has two months to make a recommendation to the full medical board, which has three months to render a decision.

UPDATE, NOV. 17, 2010, 5:56 P.M.: The California Medical Board hearing that could result in the revocation or suspension of Beverly Hills fertility doctor Michael Kamrava's license to practice resumes today in Los Angeles.

Damning details have already come out, including the admission by the in-vitro fertilization "internationally recognized leader" that he implanted 12 embryos into imbalanced Octomom Nadya Suleman of La Habra because she wouldn't consent to anything else. Still, it's amazing there have been proceedings against Kamrava at all.

The state board rarely takes action against a doctor, and it's rarer still for physicians to lose their medical licenses. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

  • Out of 6,539 complaints in fiscal year 2009, only 276 "accusations" (medical-board jargon for charges) were brought against doctors. And less than 2 percent of those lead to the loss of medical licenses.
  • It takes about 2.5 years for a complaint to be resolved--and potentially dangerous doctors continue practicing in the meantime.
  • California ranks 43rd among states in taking serious disciplinary action against doctors, according to Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen consumer advocacy group.

Compared to other cases facing the board, the action against Kamrava has moved fairly quickly, taking about 10 months for the investigation to wrap up. On average, the Chronicle reports, it takes about a year to complete an investigation and another 18 months to resolve a complaint. An appeals process adds more time.

Needless to say, California disciplines fewer doctors than the national average. And a 5-year-old law aimed at speeding the process has only shaved a month off the average completion time, which is 878 days. The state has a new plan to trim the timetable to 540 days by 2013, but it depends in part on adding new positions during a hiring freeze.

Former state Senator Liz Figueroa, the Alameda County Democrat who sponsored the 2005 legislation, called the medical board "the ultimate good old boys" network that over the years has used its influence within state government to beat back efforts to more strictly regulate and penalize doctors.

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe editorial board says the California Medical Board "should take the harshest disciplinary action" against Kamrava--while warning the physician and even Suleman are only symptoms of a larger problem: the $3 billion in-vitro fertilization industry.

Kamrava's testimony that he implanted a dozen embryos into Suleman because she would accept no fewer "speaks to the very real impact that patient pressure can have on how many embryos a doctor implants during IVF," according to the Globe. "Every doctor in the fertility industry knows patients can push very hard to have more embryos implanted than is recommended, especially when they're paying out of pocket for the expensive procedure."

The Beantown daily pointed to a recent Yale University study that found states without mandated insurance coverage of IVF have higher rates of embryos implanted and twin and triplet pregnancies. Also worth noting: More embryos are implanted on average in the United States than in many European countries, where stricter policies and laws exist.

"U.S. fertility guidelines are, at the moment, just that," the Globe finds, "and have tended to be ignored by many physicians."

The conclusion:

"In a year when the father of IVF, Dr. Robert Edwards, won the Nobel price in medicine for his breakthrough, the story of a barely capable mother of octuplets reminds us that even the best discoveries can do harm when the wrong incentives take precedent over what is best for patients."

UPDATE, OCT. 26, 2010, 12:37 P.M.: Dr. Michael Kamrava, the Beverly Hills fertility specialist who over nine years implanted 60 embryos in Octomom Nadya Suleman of La Habra, cried on the stand again yesterday.

Facing a California Medical Board that may revoke his license to practice, Kamrava tearfully admitted he was never board certified in fertility medicine, that he failed his oral exam and that he was kicked out of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Kamrava was shunned after single mother of six Suleman gave birth to the octuplets on Jan. 26, 2009.

An expert witness for the state previously testified that her treatments could have cost as much as $15,000, but the judge stopped Kamrava from disclosing how much he was paid for the in-vitro treatments that resulted in 14 children.

Kamrava again apologized and wiped away tears as he testified in the hearing that could result in the loss or suspension of license due to "gross negligence."

"I'm sorry for what happened," he said (as reported by RadarOnline). "When I look back at it, I wish I had never done it and it will never happen again."

The hearing continues today.

UPDATE, OCT. 25, 2010, 8:27 A.M.: Love means never having to say you are sorry, but implanting 12 embryos in a single mother of six who would go on to bring eight more children to term apparently does.

As its hearing that could result in Beverly Hills physician Michael Kamrava losing his medical license continues today, the California Medical Board has already got an apology from the fertility doctor of Octomom Nadya Suleman of La Habra.

"At the time that I did it, I thought I did the right thing," Kamrava told Administrative Law Judge Daniel Juarez last week in Los Angeles. "When I look back at it, even with all those circumstances, I was wrong."

Having assisted Suleman in her previous pregnancies, Kamrava claimed he believed in 2008 that Suleman only wanted four embryos implanted, but that she went on to steadfastly insist on a dozen.

The doctor testified earlier that Suleman had it in her head that she would have a total brood of 12 (give her points for being an over-achiever), and that she was desperate to crank out babies ASAP because she was showing signs of premature menopause.

Much as she is now, Suleman was experiencing severe financial woes at the time.

Kamrava told Juarez he has since cleaned up his practice to national standards, including restricting the number of embryos he will implant in a patient.

ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 19, 2010, 2:46 P.M.:


Michael Kamrava

is the one facing a Medical Board of California this week that could revoke or suspend the Beverly Hills fertility specialist's license to practice medicine, but it seems as if La Habra's

Nadya Suleman

is on trial in Los Angeles as well.

Today's bombshell: Octomom's medical records show Kamrava consulted with her on several occasions about the dangers of bearing multiple babies.

That's the contention of Kamrava's lawyer, who would note the medical problems experienced after the January 2009 birth of only the second full set of live octuplets in the United States

director of the UC San Francisco In Vitro Fertilization Program, told the medical board Kamrava's scribbled notes are indecipherable and it's unclear what advice he gave the mother of six before she birthed eight more children.

The latest allegation comes a day after the medical board proceedings began with the disclosure from Fujimoto's testimony that revealed Octomom lied in an interview in January when she said she did not have any frozen embryos left.

In fact, Fujimoto testified Monday, Kamrava implanted 12 embryos in Suleman before she birthed the octuplets and that the 35-year-old Cal State Fullerton graduate still has 29 frozen embryos stored.

"I cannot imagine any colleague of mine transferring that many embryos," Fujimoto reportedly told the board.

Suleman has a history of bad accounting when it comes to frozen embryos. She said a year before the octuplets were born that she had six left over from her previous in-vitro fertilization  treatments. She said she requested that all of the remaining embryos be implanted, despite the norm for a woman her age have two or three implanted at the most. (In his testimony, Fujimoto said no more than three is the national fertility standard.)

Octomom has said part of her reasoning for attempting a sixth pregnancy was so that the frozen embryos would not be destroyed, and she claimed the six remaining embryos were implanted and two split into twins, resulting in a total of eight embryos.

Fujimoto's testimony reveals that was a lie, and Kamrava has previously stated that Suleman insisted on "fresh" cycles of embryos.

Kamrava has also said that when five fetuses were evident a month after the embryos were implanted, he offered Suleman the option of selective reduction. She declined, according to the doctor.

The advice, lack of mental health screening and number of implanted embryos Kamrava provided Suleman and another patient--neither of whom is identified by name in the proceedings because of doctor-patient confidentiality--form the crux of the case against the physician, who claimed in a July Nightline appearance that his treatment of Octomom was "done the right way."

Previous Weekly coverage of Nadya Suleman and Michael Kamrava: ocweekly.com

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