More lawsuits filed against University Hospitals regarding 4,000 destroyed embryos

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Updated: Jan. 24, 2019 at 6:34 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A new development related to the damage to thousands of embryos at University Hospitals Fertility Clinic was announced on Thursday.

Emily Petite and her husband Matt of Concord Township announced they, along with a Painesville Township couple, are the latest to file lawsuits against University Hospitals after their embryos were destroyed.

A press conference was held with Cleveland law firms Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane and DiCello Levitt.

‘Major announcement’ expected regarding 4,000 destroyed embryos at University Hospitals

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Thursday, January 24, 2019

Nearly a year since the fertility crisis, attorneys have filed lawsuits in federal and Geauga County courts on behalf of new defendants impacted by the University Hospitals incident.

“UH admits that it failed with its handling of the now-destroyed embryos," attorney Adam Wolf stated.

He continued, “These destroyed eggs and embryos were the future children of these families, who have suffered extreme emotional distress and grief regarding the loss of their embryos.”

“When all of this happened about a year ago, it was the most devastating loss that we ever felt,” said Emily Petite.

“It was a loss that was felt throughout our entire family—not just by Matt and I, but it went to our son, who will never have a sibling. It went to our parents who will never be grandparents again.”

In March 2018, someone turned off an alarm that would have alerted UH staff that temperatures had heated up to dangerously high levels in a storage tank.

Four thousand embryos in all were destroyed. Two thousand families were affected.

The malfunction is now blamed on human error.

So far, close to 70 lawsuits have been filed against the hospital.

University Hospitals released a statement regarding the announcement that said:

"Since the March 4 Fertility Center event, University Hospitals and its leaders have apologized and continue to put our patients first by offering free fertility care to impacted patients who would like to continue their path to growing their families. We have also made significant enhancements at the Fertility Center and we embrace and reinforce a culture that encourages our physicians, nurses, and staff to speak up when they see ways to further increase the quality of care we provide to patients.

UH has worked with Fertility Center patients and their lawyers over the past year to negotiate a significant number of settlements and will continue offering resolution alternatives to our patients who want to avoid the time, expense, and anxiety of litigation. Out of respect for all of the families impacted by the event, and respect for the Court in Cuyahoga County, where these same issues are being heard, UH will not provide any further comment at this time.”

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