Storage Failure at 2nd Fertility Clinic in 'Stunning Coincidence'

The facilities in Ohio and California experienced equipment issues on the same day
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 12, 2018 6:00 PM CDT
This photo shows the University Hospital Ahuja Medical Center Kathy Risman Pavilion in Beachwood, Ohio. The University Hospital in Ohio and another fertility clinic in San Francisco experienced equipment...   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

(Newser) – Two fertility clinics across the country from each other that experienced equipment failures on the same day have responded in the wake of the unlikely coincidence, the AP reports. University Hospitals officials in Cleveland said that that they are determined to help the patients who lost eggs and embryos an Ohio incident and that lawsuits filed by two couples will not affect an independent review. Dr. Carl Herbert, president of the Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco, told ABC News in an interview released Monday that a senior embryologist noticed the nitrogen level in one tank was very low during a routine check of the tanks March 4. That embryologist, Herbert said, "immediately rectified" the problem by refilling the tank. The embryos, he said, were later transferred to a new tank.

The clinic is sending letters to about 500 patients "that may have been involved in this tank," Herbert said. It has put in place more failsafe measures to prevent a repeat. Dr. Kevin Doody, lab director at the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Texas and past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, told the AP that the nearly simultaneous storage failures are "beyond stunning" but appear to be "just a bad, bad, bad coincidence." "It's two black swan events happening in the same day," he said. "One of them causes the beehive to buzz. Two? We're all in shock," Nobody knows so far of any connection between the two failures, he said. The industry in the long run will end up being safer because there will be investigations and other facilities will examine their own backup measures and alarm systems, he said.

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