A fertility clinic outside of Cleveland admitted on Tuesday that the failure of its freezer system was far worse than initially expected and human error may be to blame partly.
Around 1,000 patients have learned now that 4,000 embryos and eggs were destroyed on 3rd March. In a new letter to the patients, the University Hospitals again apologized saying that the remote alarm system on the tank, designated to alert a UH employee to changes like temperature swings, was off.
The hospital officials said that they do not have any idea as to who turned the remote alarm off or for how long it was disabled. They even said that they were aware that the tank in question required preventative maintenance. Some of the embryos and eggs had been stored there since the 1980s. The investigation of the hospital is ongoing.
The chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology, James Liu said that as of now they do not know if it is human or mechanical or a combination. He said that he does not think anyone intentionally disengaged the alarm. Liu said that as it is a computer, they think it is unlikely that there was any kind of external force that was working to hack the computer or anything like that.
Christina Ellis and Marc, her husband had two embryos remaining at University Hospitals after Christina gave birth to their daughter. The couple was hoping to make use of them to give her a sibling. Now they are suing and claiming negligence and breach of contract. Christina Ellis said that there is nothing financially that she could gain and a price tag on embryos or an egg cannot be put. She further said that she is hoping that there are some changes that the incident never happens again for any future families and no one has to go through what she is going through.
The hospital said that it is offering the families free IVF cycles and even extending counseling at zero charges. Until now, there are no learned connections in between the failure at the clinic and the one that took place on the same day at a fertility clinic in San Francisco.