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Dozens of women join Yale fertility clinic lawsuit

The lawsuit claims patients had fentanyl, used to manage pain, switched out for saline by a nurse.

ORANGE, Conn. — Dozens more women are coming forward and launching a lawsuit against Yale University in New Haven nearly a year after a former nurse was sentenced for tampering with fentanyl vials at a fertility clinic.

The lawsuit claims patients had fentanyl, used to manage pain, switched out for saline by a nurse during procedures related to egg retrieval and miscarriages.

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Milford resident Laura Czar is one of 59 women who underwent procedures at the clinic being represented by attorneys at the law firm, Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder.

“It was a lifelong dream of mine to be a mother," Czar said.

Before undergoing treatment for breast cancer, she went to Yale’s Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Clinic, also known as REI Clinic, for fertility preservation. 

“I was expecting to get a, what they called an 'IV cocktail,' that would put me in a twilight state so that I’d be relaxed, sleepy and wouldn’t feel any pain, but I was fully alert and felt everything going through it. And I did express that to them. I was thrusting my hips," she said. "They said, ‘hold still. The medicine is working.’” 

Czar says her second retrieval a couple of weeks later was also extremely painful.

“They’re putting a huge needle into your body,” she said.

Last year, former Yale nurse, Donna Monticone, plead guilty to stealing fentanyl intended for fertility patients and was sentenced to serve four weekends of incarceration, three years of supervised release and three months of home confinement.

The lawsuit claims Monticone stole hundreds of vials of fentanyl over 5 months in 2020, which lead to dozens of patients experiencing excruciating pain during IVF procedures.

"Our clients put this high level of trust into their providers to do what’s appropriate, and unfortunately, they really breached that trust and betrayed our clients," Kelly Fitzpatrick, an attorney with Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, said.

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“Yale needs to take accountability for what occurred. This never should have happened to me or the other women," Czar said. 

The case is in litigation. Attorneys are seeking compensation for the plaintiffs. One IVF cycle typically costs between $15,000-$30,000, according to court documents.

Czar said she wants other women to know: ”Make sure someone is listening to you and don’t doubt yourself, don’t question yourself because if you are feeling pain, it’s happening." 

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FOX61 reached out to Yale for comment on the topic, but they did not respond to our request.

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at emachado@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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