04 Mar AT THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF DESTRUCTION OF 4,000 EMBRYOS, NO JUSTICE YET FOR 500 FAMILIES … AND UH LAUNCHES ATTACK ON PRIVACY OF VICTIMS
Peiffer Wolf: Shift in Tactics Do Not Reflect UH Mission Statement’s Focus on “Art of Compassion”; Is “Fertility Shaming” Push Coming from New CEO Dr. Cliff Megerian?
CLEVELAND, OH – March 4, 2020 – Three years after the 4,000-embryo destruction at University Hospitals (UH) Fertility Clinic (UHFC) that upended the lives of hundreds of Cleveland area and other Ohio families, UH is now fighting “tooth and nail” to avoid more than 500 families achieving justice, according to Cleveland law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway (Peiffer Wolf). In fact, UH appears to be doubling down on its hardball tactics by “fertility shaming” and attempting to out the identity of couples who wish to remain anonymous.
Peiffer Wolf has worked with scores of UH embryo-destruction victims, including the currently anonymous couples who are seeking to have their case heard by a jury. In an apparent effort to discourage these couples from proceeding, UH is insisting that their identities be publicly known, in a way that would be seen by family, work associates, friends, and, in future years, by their children. This “fertility shaming” and a gross invasion of privacy is a switch in tactics for UH, which previously has respected the privacy of the victims who, by law, had privacy in their medical procedures leading up to the large-scale embryo destruction.
Joseph Peiffer, managing partner and attorney, Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway, said: “UH has clearly decided to step up the pressure on victims by going nuclear in a fashion that can only be described as ‘fertility shaming’. These couples entered the process with a full expectation of privacy and now UH is adopting a scorched-earth approach that would leave their privacy in tatters. Given the timing, one must ask if this genuinely cruel approach is a new direction being undertaken at the behest of new UH CEO Dr. Cliff Megerian.”
Peiffer also said: “It’s unconscionable that there are still more than 500 families who are being strung along. When this happened three years ago, UH said that it would do whatever it took to make things right. To date, it has utterly failed to deliver on that promise. Where is the ‘Art of Compassion’ spoken of in UH’s mission statement?”
Leading IVF attorney Adam Wolf, who is a partner at Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway, said: “The eyes of the nation are upon the UH embryo-destruction scandal, which is one of the worst of its kind in U.S. history. The victims of UH don’t need compassionate mission statements; they need accountability and closure. No medical institution – no matter how big it is and how much power it wields in a community – should be able to deny justice to the patients it so clearly has victimized.”
University Hospitals Fertility Clinic has admitted publicly that it “failed” in its handling of the embryo losses in March 2018. It initially under-reported the estimated number of lost embryos and eggs at 2,000, and it followed up weeks later with a more accurate number of 4,000.
Since then, UH has disclosed additional information on what actually happened at the lab, including that the freezer tank needed preventative maintenance, that it was manually filling the malfunctioning tank from the top, that the embryology lab ran out of liquid nitrogen, and that the remote alarm on the affected tank, which was designed to alert UH staff to temperature fluctuations, was turned off.
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The law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway maintains offices in Cleveland, Youngstown, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Austin, and New Orleans. Peiffer Wolf has handled multiple cases in which fertility clinics were accused of either destroying or losing eggs and embryos. This is a highly technical area of law and science and, individuals seeking legal representation in the UH matter would be well advised to look to a law firm that has successfully handled such cases in the past.
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