University Hospitals responds to restraining order over fertility clinic malfunction

CLEVELAND–  University Hospitals issued a statement on Tuesday following a judge’s orders for the hospital to stop contacting patients affected by a fertility clinic failure.

A freezer at the UH Ahuja Medical Center fertility clinic malfunctioned on March 4, jeopardizing the viability of more than 2,000 eggs and embryos. Many patients filed lawsuits against the hospital system.

A Cuyahoga County judge issued a temporary restraining order that prohibits UH from directly negotiating settlements with patients in the case. Attorneys for the families argued that UH making direct settlements could hurt the class action case.

“We are dismayed and disappointed that a plaintiff’s attorney has so inaccurately characterized our genuine and heartfelt offers of support to our patients,” University Hospitals said in a statement on Tuesday.

A new order, by a different county judge, removes the restraining order from the docket. UH said it will continue to communicate with its patients.

“We are offering our patients who had stored eggs or embryos with us an in vitro package tailored to their individual clinical needs. We also will refund storage fees and will waive storage fees in the future for seven years. We have not and will not request or require our patients to sign a release to obtain these services,” the hospital said.

The UH information line is available weekends from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 216-286-9740.

Continuing coverage of this story here