University Hospitals provides update on investigation into fertility clinic freezer failure

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CLEVELAND-- University Hospitals released an update on its investigation into the freezer malfunction at a fertility clinic.

The temperature of the tissue storage bank at the UH Ahuja Medical Center fertility clinic unexpectedly fluctuated on March 4, jeopardizing the viability of more than 2,000 eggs and embryos.

Since then, nurses have responded to more than 900 calls while doctors have met with about 400 patients.

University Hospitals said it is offering patients who had eggs or embryos stored there an in vitro package. They are also refunding storage fees and waiving them for seven years. Patients are not required to sign a release for these services.

Meanwhile, the hospital system is taking a close look at all aspects of the fertility clinic's storage, including tanks, pressure monitoring and computer software. They are also examining alarms, security and liquid nitrogen issues.

"Since we have restricted key card access and monitor record keeping to these areas, thus far we have ruled out any inappropriate physical access. We believe a hack into the computer portions of the equipment is not likely, but we have not ruled it out completely given a similar occurrence at a fertility center in San Francisco on the same day," UH said in a news release on Friday.

New storage tanks were already purchased and there will be a new alarm from a different vendor.

Last week, a Cuyahoga County judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting 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 lawsuit.

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

Continuing coverage of the UH fertility clinic here

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