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Destroyed Cleveland Frozen Embryo Catastrophe Worse Than Initial Estimates

4,000 frozen embryos, eggs ruined – 950 patients affected, Cleveland attorney reports

CLEVELAND (April 4, 2018) – All 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos stored at the Reproductive and Fertility Clinic at University Hospitals of Cleveland were completely destroyed due to human error, affecting 950 patients, many of whom are now filing lawsuits against the hospital and perhaps others.

“The more we learn about this tragedy, the more we realize this catastrophe should have never happened,” said attorney Tom Merriman, a partner at Merriman Legal, LLC. “Critical mistakes were clearly made by many people. And we’re committed to uncovering the truth.”

Merriman Legal, LLC is filing lawsuits on behalf of people affected by a malfunctioning storage refrigerator, where the frozen eggs and embryos were stored at the hospital. Initially, officials said 2,000 stored eggs and embryos were affected. Now, officials admit that all 4,000 were destroyed, according to news reports this week in The New York Times, CNN, NPR News, NBC’s Today Show and ABC World News Tonight.

The frozen eggs and embryos were destroyed the weekend of March 3 and 4, when the temperature in a liquid nitrogen freezer at UH’s Ahuja Medical Center used to store the frozen eggs and embryos fluctuated to dangerously high levels, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer on March 27.

An alarm system designed to remotely alert employees off site about such dramatic changes in temperature was turned off that weekend, according to another Cleveland Plain Dealer article on March 27. As a result, no alerts were sent to employees. Instead, staff members arrived at the hospital the morning of March 4 and were greeted by the sound of the alarm going off. No one was at the facility overnight on March 3, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer on March 8.

The manufacturer of the freezer has a history of malfunctions dating back years, according to NBC News, a situation that Merriman said is “absolutely inexcusable.”

“This heartbreaking disaster demands a thorough investigation,” Merriman said. “And we intend to get to the bottom of exactly what happened on behalf of our clients. Justice must be served.”

About Merriman Legal, LLC

Merriman Legal, LLC, a Cleveland-based law firm, represents clients who have experienced loss due to negligence and unreasonable conduct. The firm handles personal injury claims, complex litigation matters and class action cases.

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