Mobile Infirmary has been sued for allegedly destroying embryos, and the lawsuit has now gone before a judge. According to the lawsuit, a patient of the clinic wandered into a cryogenic freezer and destroyed embryos. This resulted in a lawsuit for multiple counts of wrongful death. The Center for Reproductive Medicine at the hospital is facing these counts, as the argument is that it failed to properly protect the embryos from harm.
Felicia and Scott Aysenne are seeking a jury trial, according to a complaint that was filed in September of 2021. Their argument is that the clinic was negligent and, as a result of that negligence, they lost their last embryo. But the hospital is pushing back with a motion for dismissal of the Aysenne’s complaint. They are making the argument that destruction of an embryo doesn’t meet the criteria for a wrongful death allegation. Whether they’re successful with that argument will likely depend on some specific definitions.
At the heart of this case is likely not just the level of potential negligence on the part of the clinic, but whether the law considers an embryo to be a person. If the law does not consider an embryo a person, there would be no wrongful death from the destruction of the embryos. That doesn’t mean there’s no case at all, however. There could still be charges resulting from the negligence, since the clinic allegedly should have made sure the embryos were secure. Patients shouldn’t have the opportunity to simply walk into a freezer where embryos are kept.
These kinds of cases can also have significant impacts on other areas of the law, especially if embryos are considered to be people in a legal context. A case of this type has the potential to send ripples through the fertility and legal communities, so it will be worth noting whether the judge dismisses the case or allows it to go forward, and how legal teams from both sides approach the issue.
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