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From The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A fertility doctor who implanted the wrong embryos in a Campbell woman will have his medical license revoked nearly five years after the procedure.

The Medical Board of California took the action recommended by an administrative law judge who said Dr. Steven L. Katz engaged in "some of the most serious physician misconduct imaginable."

It's the strongest sanction that can be imposed by the board, which has faced criticism for lax oversight of the state's medical doctors.

Only 37 licenses were revoked for fiscal year 2003-04 by the agency that oversees the state's 91,000 practicing physicians.

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In the decision made public Tuesday, Judge Jonathan Lew said, "Nothing short of revocation will restore to the public confidence that this type of behavior will not be tolerated by the medical profession."

Katz acknowledges he failed to immediately tell Susan Bucheweitz that he'd mistakenly implanted someone else's embryos in her womb in 2000.

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He waited 18 months to tell her and the other couple — who are now seeking custody of Bucheweitz's son.

Bucheweitz was awarded $1 million to settle her malpractice suit against Katz, Imam El-Danasouri, the scientist who incubated the embryos and allegedly provided the wrong ones, and the clinic, Fertility Associates of the Bay Area.

Katz's lawyer, Brock D. Phillips, did not return a telephone call seeking comment Wednesday.

Katz has until April 27 — the effective date of the revocation — to appeal the decision. He could seek a stay that would allow him to continue operating his clinic until a final court ruling. After three years, he's allowed to apply for reinstatement of his license.

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