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4,000 eggs and embryos lost in hospital freezer malfunction

Arizona patients may be interested to learn that on July 3, it was reported that several families filed a lawsuit against a Cleveland hospital after a freezer housing more than 4,000 eggs and embryos malfunctioned. The cryopreservation system that the eggs and embryos were being housed in for more than 950 families malfunctioned in March.

University Hospitals stated that the eggs and embryos were being kept in a cryopreservation tank that had been equipped with an alarm system. This alarm system was supposed to alert an employee if the temperature in the tank changed. However, it was found that the alarm was off, so no employees were alerted when a malfunction caused the temperatures in the tank to rise. As a result, the hospital said it was unlikely that any of the eggs or embryos were viable. Even so, the hospital said that it was not liable due to the number of risks involved in in vitro fertilization.

One woman who filed a claim had her uterus removed after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She and her husband had decided to have her eggs frozen in the hopes that the couple could still be parents despite her diagnosis.

When patients go to the hospital for medical services, including the storing of eggs and embryos, they expect the staff to take the utmost care. If a person loses frozen eggs or embryos after the preservation system experiences a malfunction that was caused by hospital negligence, the harmed patients may be eligible to file a lawsuit. An attorney may determine if the patients have the grounds to file a lawsuit and what damages they might be eligible to seek.

Source: CNN, "Hospital says it's not liable for loss of eggs, embryos in freezer malfunction", Madison Park and Janet DiGiacomo, 07/03/2018

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