LEGAL

Family whose embryos are no longer viable files lawsuit against UH: ‘It’s a tremendous loss’

Mar 12, 2018, 6:15 PM | Updated: Mar 13, 2018, 1:09 am
**Embargo: Cleveland, Ohio**

The first class action lawsuit has been filed against University Hosp...
**Embargo: Cleveland, Ohio** The first class action lawsuit has been filed against University Hospitals following a refrigerator malfunction that has left the viability of 2,000 eggs and embryos in question.
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WEWS) — The first class action lawsuit has been filed against University Hospitals following a refrigerator malfunction that has left the viability of 2,000 eggs and embryos in question.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Robert DiCello of DiCello, Levitt & Casey, is on behalf of Amber and Elliott Ash, who had two embryos stored with UH.

The couple received notification of the failure on Friday and over the weekend, were told by physicians that their embryos are no longer viable.

“It’s heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking,” Amber Ash said. “The medical community calls it tissue, I like to think of it as my children. My frozen children.”

The Ash family welcomed Ethan, now 2-years-old, into their lives through in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, at UH.

Elliott was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2003, and at age 23, decided to bank his sperm before they were destroyed by chemotherapy. The couple have had their embryos stored at UH since 2014, paying about $400 a year for the service.

They had hoped to give Ethan a genetic sibling.

“You put so much faith into the physicians and the medical team, and like I said, to have this taken away — your hopes and dreams destroyed. It’s a tremendous loss,” Amber said.

The hope and ultimate goal with the lawsuit, the family said, is to make sure another family doesn’t feel the same loss ever again.

“I find it very hard to believe that in this day and age, there are not better safeguard and practices that could be put in place,” Amber added.

DiCello said he is in talks with other patients to add them to the class-action complaint.

“I just urge everyone, before you judge what they’ve gone through, or what they’re going through, or what their motives for doing it, ask yourselves, ‘What would it be like if I had my family’s treasure lost by a hospital that just didn’t care enough to check on it?’” DiCello said.

The Ash family said they still have many unanswered questions regarding the failure, even after speaking with two physicians. UH has not clarified if it was a mechanical or human error at this point. The malfunction occurred sometime between the overnight hours of Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4.

Other attorneys in the Greater Cleveland area have also told News 5 they will be filing lawsuits for individual clients on Monday.

“What is most disturbing to me is that everyone I talked to has been informed by UH that their embryos are not viable, they’ve been destroyed, different from what has been out there publicly which has been that they’ve been compromised, we don’t know. I think this problem is far more serious than has been presented so far,” said Team LGM attorney Tom Merriman.

“Our intent is to file a lawsuit on behalf of a large group of women and couples who have lost their embryos. We intend to do that within the next couple of days, “ he said.

In a statement regarding the lawsuits, UH officials told News 5 the following: “We understand why some people might feel compelled to take this step. Any lawsuits being filed will have no bearing on the independent review being conducted or our determination to help patients who have suffered this loss.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Legal

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07:  Danny Masterson speaks during a Launch Event for Netflix "The Ranch: Part...
BRIAN MELLEY and ANDREW DALTON, Associated Press

Mistrial declared in actor Danny Masterson’s rape trial

A judge has declared a mistrial at the rape trial of “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson.
3 days ago
An Arizona business owner found guilty in Utah of making false claims to the government in order to...
Kaitlyn Bancroft, KSL.com

Prison time ordered for business owner convicted of stealing millions from government

An Arizona business owner found guilty in Utah of making false claims to the government in order to obtain a $99 million contract will serve federal prison time and forfeit over $2 million from multiple bank accounts, district court records show.
3 days ago
Eli Mitchell (Courtesy Mitchell family)...
Michael Houck

Man pleads guilty to fatal hit-and-run involving West Jordan teen

The man suspected of killing a West Jordan 13-year-old riding his bike in April has pleaded guilty to two felony charges. 
4 days ago
Stewart Rhodes in October 2022 in federal court. (Bill Hennessy)...
LINDSAY WHITEHURST, ALANNA DURKIN RICHER and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

Oath Keepers boss guilty of seditious conspiracy in 1/6 case

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes has been convicted of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win.
4 days ago
A block section of the old Utah State Prison in Draper is pictured on Aug. 15. A Utah man serving a...
Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Man who believed God told him to kill more than 20 years ago now seeks parole

A Utah man serving life in prison for killing a man he had never met more than 20 years ago because he believed God told him to do it no longer believes that and is seeking parole.
4 days ago
FILE: Crews drop fire retardant on the Jacob City Fire on July 9. (UWCNF)...
Michael Houck

Charges dropped against man who allegedly started Jacob City Fire

Tooele county attorneys have dropped the charges against the man who allegedly started a 4,000-acre wildfire over the summer. 
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Family whose embryos are no longer viable files lawsuit against UH: ‘It’s a tremendous loss’