Cleveland — UH's controversial decision last week to try to get some lawsuits against the Hospital thrown out in the Fertility Clinic failure case, continues to anger those affected and raise questions.
It's kind of a David and Goliath situation. Hospitals have powerful lobbyists working on their behalf that protect them from exposure in lawsuits.
The patients in this case don't have that.
They advertise a hospital driven by “Science and Compassion”, but after asking the courts to throw out some of the cases filed against them in the fertility clinic failure, attorneys for the patients claim this latest maneuver shows that it's just the opposite.
"If your patient’s rights do come first, why are you trying to take them away in court," said Attorney Chris Patno, whose firm represents dozens UH fertility clinic patients.
And the hospital created quite the mea culpa campaign, trotting out executives in videos posted on their Facebook page.
"We know we made mistakes," said UH President Tom Zenty.
And from President of Rainbow Babies and Children, Patty DePompei, "We are so very sorry for what happened."
Sounds great but the Ohio State Medical Association, which lobbies legislators on behalf of healthcare practitioners, supported a law which says in medical malpractice cases, which is what UH claims these are, all of those public apologies can be kept out of court.
"The apologies and responsibility that they so publicly stated, are going to be withdrawn in the court and not ever allowed to see a jury," explained Attorney Patno.
What's worse, if the courts rule these are medical malpractice cases, the law says you can only sue an “individual," not the Hospital. And for now, UH isn't saying who that person is.
"We don't know when it was deactivated or who is responsible for deactivating it," said Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. James Liu, referring to the tank where thousands of eggs and embryos died.
"I feel like it's just been up and down rollercoaster and we really haven't gotten any straight answers," said Kate Plants, who is suing the Hospital.
The Ohio State Medical Association ignored our request for comment. University Hospitals reiterated what it said Friday when they filed the motion to dismiss, which is that the plaintiff’s' attorneys did not file the necessary documentation to proceed with the case.
But attorney Patno claims can down the road so patients run out of time to file suits.
"What’s going on in the courts is complexity, cost, delay and denial," he said.
Meantime, in another blow to patient’s rights, a bill is being considered by the Ohio legislature which would let hospitals decide which records they want to release as evidence in medical malpractice claims.