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County supervisors urge probe of fertility doctors

Board to review guidelines, standards

Posted: February 17, 2009 9:10 p.m.
Updated: February 17, 2009 6:11 p.m.
 
"Licensing agencies must require physician compliance with clinical standards and the Medical Practice Act when assessing a doctor's fitness to practice medicine in California," said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich on the unanimous approval of his motion by the Board of Supervisors asking the State's medical board to review established guidelines to address problems that may arise from multiple delivery in light of recent reports of octuplets being born to a Whittier women.

"The doctor who treated this mother has placed the long-term health and safety of these infants in jeopardy," he added. "Medical advances in this field require a fresh look at clinical ethics and standards as well as the financial burden placed on the community as result of the actions of physicians."

Among the issues to be addressed include possible liability of fertility doctors in multiple birth cases where the actions of the doctor threaten the health of the mother and babies, and the assessment of a prospective mother's psychological fitness.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine establishes clinical guidelines to direct the management of this procedure however, they have indicated that in the octuplet case, it appears their guidelines were not followed.

The State licensing agencies, in this case the Medical Board of California, should be evaluating physician compliance with these and other clinical standards when assessing whether a doctor is fit to practice medicine in California.

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