University Hospitals May Face Second Lawsuit Over Embryo Freezer Malfunction

The Plain Dealer/ – March 12, 2018

By: Julie Washington

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A second proposed class action lawsuit regarding the egg and embryo freezer malfunction at University Hospitals may be in the works.

The law firm Peiffer Rosca Wolf Abdullah Carr & Kane (PRW) will announce the proposed lawsuit this afternoon in a conference call with reporters. PRW has handled multiple prior cases involving eggs/embryos damaged or lost during the storage or transfer process, it said in a statement.

The law firm did not say which court would handle the suit.

This announcement follows a proposed class action lawsuit filed Sunday by Amber and Elliott Ash, who lost two embryos stored in a freezer at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood, according to local news reports. UH officials stated that the hospital does not comment on litigation.

The hospital announced last week that about 2,000 eggs and embryos stored in a large liquid nitrogen freezer at the Ahuja Medical Center Fertility Center in Beachwood may have been damaged when the temperature rose in a storage tank. About 700 patients were notified about the incident, and the eggs and embryos have been moved to a different storage tank, UH said.

The matter is under investigation, UH said.

There are financial, medical and emotional ramifications to the malfunction at UH. The loss of eggs and embryos, stored as part of costly in vitro fertilization treatments, could mean that some patients have lost their chance to have biological children.

The PRW news conference will take place at 2 p.m. today.

PRW has offices in Cleveland, OH; Rochester, NY; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; St. Louis, MO; and New Orleans, LA.


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