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University Hospitals faces multiple lawsuits over Fertility Clinic incident

University Hospitals now faces multiple lawsuits following an incident at its Fertility Clinic that compromised hundreds of eggs and embryos stored in liquid nitrogen.

Lydia Coutre, Modern Healthcare, Mar 13, 2018

Cleveland law firm Peiffer Rosca Wolf Abdullah Carr & Kane (PRW) has filed a class action lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas Cuyahoga County on behalf of a Pennsylvania couple and another estimated 700 victims. The complaint lists the UH system, UH Ahuja Medical Center, UH Medical Group and UH Cleveland Medical Center as defendants.

DiCello Levitt & Casey also filed a class action lawsuit in the same court on behalf of families affected against the UH system, UH Ahuja and UH Cleveland medical centers.

An "unexpected temperature fluctuation with the tissue storage bank" occurred over the weekend of March 3 and 4, according to a statement from UH on March 8, at which point the system didn't know the viability of the eggs and embryos.

"Right now, our patients come first," UH said in the statement. "We are incredibly sorry this happened. We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns. We have already initiated contact with all of our patients to inform them and respond to their questions, and set up a designated call center to arrange personal meetings or calls with their physicians."

The PRW law firm has handled multiple cases in which fertility clinics were accused of destroying or losing eggs and embryos, according to a news release.

"Lawsuits don't get any more important than this," PRW partner Adam Wolf said in a prepared statement. "The Pennsylvania couple entrusted UHFC with their dreams of having children, as well as their most sensitive and important property: their frozen embryos. The result is an incalculable loss and a situation where UHFC and other institutions like it must be sent a message that this sort of horror being inflicted would-be parents is entirely unacceptable and never to be repeated."

DiCello Levitt & Casey is conducting investigations of potential similar lawsuits at clinics across the country, including a San Francisco facility that experienced a similar malfunction earlier this month, according to a news release.

"Our clients are absolutely devastated, as I'm sure countless families across Ohio are in the wake of this catastrophic failure by University Hospitals," said Mark DiCello, partner of DiCello Levitt & Casey, in a prepared statement. "Let's not forget those affected are grieving the loss of thousands of potential daughters and sons. The affected patients are in a state of confusion, anger, and sorrow at the moment, with a lot of unanswered questions. With this lawsuit, we aim to get some answers."

According to, UH officials say they've increased security at UH Ahuja Medical Center since the incident.

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