Michael Kamrava, the doctor who provided fertility treatment to Nadya Suleman, mother of octuplets born in January 2009, has been accused of gross negligence by the California Medical Board.
The complaint filed on December 22 by the medical board of the largest state in the U.S. and signed, says KTLA, by the board's Executive Director Barbara Johnston, alleges that Beverly Hills fertility doctor Michael Kamrava violated professional guidelines and displayed gross negligence, acting "beyond the reasonable judgment of any treating physician", when providing treatment to now 34-year-old Nadya Suleman, who has become known as "Octomom" after giving birth on January 26 2009 to six sons and two daughters.
Ms Suleman, the mother of four daughters and ten sons, all conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF), was first treated by Dr. Kamrava in 1997 and would often return to see the doctor in order to become pregnant again, in some instances only a few months after having given birth.
Part of the criticism leveled at Dr. Kamrava in what the Los Angeles Times reports is a 13-page document is that he failed to refer Ms Suleman - single, unemployed and living partly on public money at her mother's house when she conceived what are the world's longest living set of octuplets - to a mental health professional over her repeated desire to become pregnant.
In its report KTLA has reproduced an extract from the complaint filed against Dr. Kamrava. The extract, in which Ms Suleman is referred to as N.S., reads:When N.S. returned to (Kamrava) in July 2005 following the birth of her fourth child and again in January 2007, following the birth of her twins -- her fifth and sixth children -- (Kamrava) failed to exercise appropriate judgment and question whether there would be harm to her living children and any future offspring should she continue to conceive
According to the London Times guidelines issued by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) state that a woman of Ms Suleman's age should not have anymore than two embryos implanted and as a consequence of the assistance he gave to Ms Suleman, the subject of considerable anger when her lifestyle became public knowledge, Dr. Kamrava was expelled from ASRM in September.
However, his expulsion did not affect his right to continue treating patients, but if the complaint filed by the California Medical Board is upheld Dr. Kamrava's medical license could be suspended or even revoked.
Speaking on behalf of Dr. Kamrava after the Medical Board's complaint was filed, attorney Peter Osinoff said:I think it's safe to say he's been devastated by all this. It's a very traumatic thing for him to go through this very public episode and scrutiny, starting with the public opprobrium and culminating now in the state board action. The question is -- and society may not approve -- but if it's satisfactory between patient and physician, that is something to be weighed very significantly
Explaining that guidelines are not legal requirements Mr Osinoff then added:Guidelines don't necessarily apply to each individual case. Patient history has to be taken into account. Patient desire has to be taken into account. Patient demand has to be taken into account. I can assure you that in all respects, Dr. Kamrava was attempting to comply with patient preference
As for Ms Suleman, whose octuplets were nine and a half weeks premature when they were born in Bellflower, California and therefore are reportedly more susceptible to long-term health problems, she told NBC's Ann Curry, in what has been her only interview with the mainstream media, that unused frozen embryos were her motivation for seeking Dr. Kamrava's assistance once more in 2008. The Los Angeles Times quotes her as saying:I couldn't live with the fact that, if I had never used them, and, you know, I'll be 70 years old and regret the fact that I didn't allow these little embryos to live or give them an opportunity to grow.
I believe children are blessings from God. And to allocate that role to a doctor, to dispose of a life is incomprehensible to me
No date has been set for the complaint against Dr. Kamrava, a man who more than once helped Ms Suleman create new embryos despite the fact frozen embryos already existed, to be heard.