CLEVELAND– Nearly a year after a malfunction destroyed 4,000 embryos and eggs at a University Hospitals fertility clinic, attorneys announced additional lawsuits against the health system.
The temperature unexpectedly fluctuated in the tissue storage bank at Ahuja Medical Center on March 4, 2018. UH said embryos and eggs from about 950 patients were no longer viable after the incident.
The new lawsuits were filed in federal court and Geauga County Common Pleas Court.
“The loss suffered by our clients is devastating. University Hospitals has admitted that it cannot give back what was taken away. And what was taking away? The eggs and embryos of our clients and hundreds of patients across the country. Those eggs and embryos represent the hopes of having children for hundreds of American families,” attorney Adam Wolf said.
The attorneys were joined by two couples affected by the fertility clinic failure.
Documents from the Ohio Department of Health said the facility failed to ensure one liquid nitrogen storage tank was inspected and maintained. The report indicates University Hospitals knew about issues before the incident in March.
Dozens of lawsuits against University Hospitals followed, including a group of cancer survivors represented by women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred.
University Hospitals released the following statement on Thursday:
“Since the March 4 Fertility Center event, University Hospitals and its leaders have apologized and continue to put our patients first by offering free fertility care to impacted patients who would like to continue their path to growing their families. We have also made significant enhancements at the Fertility Center and we embrace and reinforce a culture that encourages our physicians, nurses, and staff to speak up when they see ways to further increase the quality of care we provide to patients.
“UH has worked with Fertility Center patients and their lawyers over the past year to negotiate a significant number of settlements and will continue offering resolution alternatives to our patients who want to avoid the time, expense, and anxiety of litigation. Out of respect for all of the families impacted by the event, and respect for the Court in Cuyahoga County, where these same issues are being heard, UH will not provide any further comment at this time.”