A report released by the Ohio Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services attempts to explain how the University Hospitals (UH) fertility clinic lost thousands of eggs and embryos in March 2018.
The Department of Health concluded that the hospital failed to properly maintain and inspect a liquid nitrogen storage container used for eggs and embryos, and also failed to utilize alarms designed to alert staff that eggs and embryos in the storage tank were in danger.
Officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were told that alarms for liquid nitrogen containers were tested in March or April 2017, however UH failed to provide documentation of the tests. The ODH report states that University Hospitals is in compliance, and state officials have received “an acceptable plan of correction” from the hospital.
The Ohio clinic is investigating “an unexpected temperature fluctuation” that affected its tissue storage bank, where liquid nitrogen preserves eggs and embryos. A class action lawsuit has already been filed against University Hospitals in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The complaint lists the University Hospitals system, including UH Ahuja Medical Center, UH Medical Group and UH Cleveland Medical Center.
The accident has caused an uproar among those patients relying on the professional competence of the University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center’s Fertility Center. For many patients who spent years and thousands of dollars on treatments, their last hopes may have been compromised.
As part of the correction plan, University Hospitals will have four new liquid nitrogen tanks purchased for egg/embryo storage, a lab director will conduct a weekly audit, and a quality control council will receive these results. The new compliance does not help the fact that thousands of eggs and embryos were destroyed.
A UH media relations strategist decided to recently decline an interview because of pending litigation involving the fertility clinic. The hospital has stated that they are cooperating with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the College of American Pathologists (CAP).
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated hospital negligence and fertility clinic negligence lawyer representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of civil litigation claims against healthcare providers.
University Hospitals has said that a remote alarm system on a storage tank that was designed to alert staff of changes like temperature swings was turned off. On March 3rd, the temperature inside the tank rose and destroyed thousands of eggs and embryos. UH did not know the alarm was turned off but may still be liable for the damages.
The UH has said, “We had been working with the tank manufacturer who had previously provided instructions on the necessary maintenance to ‘thaw’ the storage tank to correct this difficulty. To do that required transferring all specimens to an extra storage tank previously provided by the manufacturer. This process takes several weeks, and had begun when this event occurred, though no eggs or embryos had yet been moved to the extra tank.”
Custom Biogenic Systems is the company that was providing the new tank. The company has made the following statement: “CBS does not provide or service liquid nitrogen tanks. Accordingly, CBS was not at fault for the absence of liquid nitrogen tanks in the Embryology Lab. CBS did not design, manufacture, install, control, or monitor the remote alarm system that was reportedly ‘off’ during the time of this incident.”
When management or individuals fail to provide a sufficient level of care, victims may seek legal recourse and file suit against the negligent parties. Medical malpractice lawsuits improve the quality of healthcare by holding physicians and hospitals responsible when they fall below a professional standard of care.
Hospitals, medical staff, nurses and doctors are responsible for providing proper patient care. When management or individuals fail to provide a sufficient level of care, victims may seek legal recourse and file suit against the negligent parties.
Without medical malpractice laws, medical mistakes would go without consequence, patients would be uncompensated for preventable injuries, and medical providers would have less incentive to improve the medical system to prevent future injuries.
Despite the reports discussed above, frivolous claims brought by medical malpractice attorneys and runaway juries have been blamed as causing a medical crisis. There is no medical malpractice crisis, it is simply propaganda created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and large insurance companies to pollute the American jury pool and change the law in a manner that is favorable to them and adverse to the average American. And sadly, it has worked.
Currently, 90 percent of juries side with the physician over the patient at trial. As a result, insurance companies are bolder than ever and refuse at times to settle even the most meritorious of cases knowing that the chances of the patient finding a fair and impartial jury is extremely low, especially in more conservative parties of the country such as Hamilton County, Ohio.
The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 required that conditions be identified that (a) are costly and occur at high rates, (b) are assigned as cases to the Diagnosis-Related Group, and (c) could have ultimately been prevented with appropriate care. These hospital-acquired conditions occur as negligence on the part of hospital staff and often result in a multitude of medical malpractice lawsuits.
Conditions that meet the three requirements for identification:
Many hospitals and physicians are taking proactive approaches to resolve viable medical malpractice claims by approaching patients who do not have legal counsel. The “family meeting” presentation will include deterring patients from seeking legal counsel. This is a very concerning development in the course of medical liability and risk management.
We strongly advise patients not to engage in “family meeting” settlement negotiations without an experienced Cincinnati medical malpractice lawyer present. Hospitals and physicians have lawyers who are specialized in medical malpractice claims advising them on how to approach the case, and it is only fair that the patient is afforded the same benefit of qualified counsel.
The “family meeting” practice of settling hospital negligence cases without an attorney does not benefit the patient in most cases, but almost always benefits the negligent hospital.
Do not be deterred by a hospital representative implying that the case will be compromised if you seek counsel. While attorney fees will need to be paid, those costs should not be a deterrent. The Lyon Firm adopts a lower contingency fee structure and offers hourly rates for cases that can be resolved without litigation.
If the parties wish to resolve the matter, having qualified counsel on both sides is beneficial to the process. The goal should be a settlement where both parties are satisfied, not a case where the hospital pays substantially less than the fair value of the claim.
There are numerous issues that need to be considered before settling a medical malpractice case, and you should know what the fair value of the claim is before accepting a settlement.
The hospital knows the fair value having been involved in other cases. You as the patient should work with counsel who has successfully worked on other cases and can advise on the appropriate risk of future litigation and settlement value.
If a hospital is approaching you or a family member about a settlement without a Cincinnati Medical Malpractice lawyer, please call (800) 513-2403 for a free consultation.
The process for investigating a medical malpractice claims involves the following steps:
The Lyon Firm aggressively, professionally, and passionately advocates for injured individuals and families against companies due to a defective product or recalled product to obtain just compensation under the law.
(Cincinnati, Ohio): Confidential settlement for a family due to a wrongful death. An emergency room physician failed to recognize the common symptoms associated with bowel obstruction and prescribed a contraindicated medicine of GoLytley. The patient died at home the day of discharge after taking the medication. The case against the emergency room physician was resolved by settlement following extensive discovery. The settlement was paid to the spouse and surviving adult children for the loss of their mother. While no amount of money could bring back their mother, the case provided answers and held the hospital accountable.
(Cincinnati, Ohio): Joe Lyon was second chair in a case involving the failure of a physician to promptly communicate a positive breast cancer result to a patient. As a result of the delay, the cancer progressed from in situ carcinoma to stage 3B with lymph node involvement. The treatment required mastectomy and radiation/ chemotherapy rather than a simple excision. The case settled after extensive discovery. The defense argued: “the patient should have called the physician.” The settlement provided recovery for suffering through a misdiagnosis and the loss of a spouse and a mother. While the settlement cannot bring this wonderful woman back, it helped her family move forward with life’s challenges and encouraged future accountability.