CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - As more couples who lost embryos and eggs at the UH fertility clinic file lawsuits, a key question remains. How will cases involving up to 950 ruined samples be handled?
Attorney Robert DiCello represents 50 UH patients. He believes the case could be settled quickly
"We all know what went wrong. What's left to argue about? They didn't monitor the tank properly. It overheated. Let's move on now. But they're not joining us in that conversation yet. Hopefully, they will," he said.
While DiCello hopes the litigation takes on the tone of a conversation, such a scenario is unlikely.
Procedurally, in court, chances are the cases will be combined. That is where fault will be determined. The hospital admissions so far aren't enough to move ahead, fault has to be legally established.
Once that happens, negotiations will begin on a patient-by-patient basis over damages. Certainly that will be emotional for patients, but not in the eyes of the court, according to DiCello: "The law does not grant to the embryos that were lost the status of human life. Given the law as it is, this is property and so one way of thinking about it is to think about it as treasure. If you had family heirlooms or family treasure that was lost. What would the value be to you?"
To families like the Ash's in Bay Village, the loss is impossible to quantify.
Ashley Ash observed, "We assumed they were in the safest place, and that clearly did not hold though."
DiCello believes it will take a long time to settle. "We are now at a place in America where medicine is corporatized, and there's a war going on between corporate values and human values." He says doctors and medical staff are not to blame, but are caught in the corporate PR legal web.
"This benefits nobody to drag this out, to play hands close to the vest or cards close to the vest this makes no impact on the problems that these families face. It is for the folks I represent like they've lost children. That's exactly how they feel about it," he said.