Imagine your child has gone through extensive cancer therapy but had their stem cells harvested and frozen prior to treatment. While stem cell extraction is a difficult, excruciating procedure, it can prove life-saving for children whose cancer returns. Now, a freezer failure at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) puts the lives of approximately 56 children in jeopardy once more, as their stem cells have been destroyed and it is unlikely healthy new stem cells are harvestable from children who have gone through damaging chemotherapy and radiation.
According to a CHLA statement, freezer “safeguards were in place at the time but were insufficient.” While the malfunctioning freezer has since been replaced, and upgrades, additional staff training, and monitoring have all taken place, the prior insufficient safeguards have upended the lives of those children living in remission or with cancer and that of their families.
The hospital claims it will aid children who want to go through the stem cell harvesting process again, but the availability of healthy stem cells from children who have gone through treatment is questionable, and the procedure is grueling.
Sean Anderson Corona, 13, underwent the painful process of having his stem cells harvested before receiving treatment for Stage 4 neuroblastoma three years ago. He has been in remission since but recalls the many injections and the two-day hookup to machines required to separate stem cells from the blood. According to Corona, he could not sleep and his body would shake, causing him to “freak out” and cry.
However, it was not to his mother that CHLA sent a letter notifying the family of the stem cell refrigeration failure, but to Sean. When he found about the loss of his stem cells, he started crying. It turns out CHLA sent the letter to all of the children involved rather than the families. CHLA has since apologized to the families, but the damage is done.
His mother, Elizabeth Anderson, says it may not prove possible to harvest more of Sean’s stem cells should his cancer come back. She says the effect of radiation and chemo on the body is so damaging that the body’s stem cells are also affected.
Ellis Injury Law is taking cases of children whose stem cells were destroyed by CHLA. The bottom line is CHLA failed these children who had or have cancer, because of this refrigerator malfunction. Now, these stem cells are lost forever, which has a devastating impact on their lives. We will fight aggressively to seek justice for these children and their families.
How Ellis Injury Law can help
If you or a loved one had their stem cells lost because of the negligent actions of the CHLA, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Ellis Law Firm. Please call us today to schedule a free initial consultation or contact us online. We will review your case and advise you as to your legal options going forward. Over the past 25 years, our compassionate attorneys have recovered over $350 million in damages for our personal injury clients.