‘They’re gone, they’re gone in an instant:’ Bay Village couple files class action lawsuit against UH fertility clinic

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CLEVELAND--A class action lawsuit has been filed after the recent freezer disaster at a University Hospitals fertility clinic.

Amber and Elliot Ash of Bay Village have been on a rollercoaster of emotions; the couple, who is now represented by DiCello, Levitt, and Casey LLC, filed the lawsuit, Sunday.

"We had two embryos that had been stored at UH Ahuja Medical Center, and those two embryos we were told yesterday [Saturday] that they were not deemed viable," Amber Ash said.

UH said the malfunction that happened earlier this month potentially impacted the viability of more than 2,000 embryos and eggs.

Regarding the incident, a hospital spokesperson explained the temperature of the tissue storage bank where eggs and embryos were housed in liquid nitrogen fluctuated unexpectedly.

"There is nothing worse than being told these embryos you worked so hard to create, and invested so much of your time and your physical self and emotional self and the financial piece, they're gone, they're gone in an instant," Ash said.

The Ashes are being proactive, hoping that something like this never happens again. The couple has a two-and-a-half year old little boy, and always wanted to give him a sibling.

"In their name, and through their good work, thousands will probably be affected and brought into this lawsuit, to be able to get relief in one shot," said Attorney, Robert DiCello.

The Ashes are seeking compensation from UH, but they tell Fox 8 more importantly, error prevention.

"It's really about improving these systems and improving the medical practices and policies that are in place, enhancing them,

because obviously what the medical community deemed appropriate--clearly it wasn't," Ash said.

In response to the class action lawsuit, UH released a statement to Fox 8:

"We understand why some people might feel compelled to take this step. Any lawsuits being filed will have no bearing on the independent review being conducted or our determination to help patients who have suffered this loss."

While the Ash family is glad the independent review is being conducted, they want justice for everyone who has suffered from this situation.

"I think many of us are questioning how did this really happen?"

Continuing coverage here. 

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