Putnam woman says companies didn't properly care for umbilical cord blood

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 11, 2011

CHARLESTON -- A Putnam County woman is suing CorCell, Inc., after she claims it failed to care for her infant child's umbilical cord blood.

Cord Blood America; Progenitor Cell Therapy, LLC; and Bergen Community Blood Center were also named as defendants in the suit.

On Feb. 12, 2007, Lindsay Bays entered into a contract with CorCell for the collection and storage of her unborn child's umbilical cord cell blood, which was to be collected from the umbilical cord at the birth of her son, Luke Bays, according to a complaint filed Sept. 21 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Linsday Bays gave birth on Feb. 26, 2007, and in accordance to the contract, Luke Bays' umbilical cord cell blood was collected and sent to a lab operated by CorCell.

The cord blood was transferred to a storage facility owed and operated by Bergen Community Blood Center in New Jersey, but in October 2007, CorCell stopped using the facility and transferred all of its acquired blood products to Progenitor Cell Therapy, according to the suit.

Lindsay Bays claims when her son Luke Bays began to experience developmental delays and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she took him to Duke University for admission to the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program for treatment of cerebral palsy utilizing the collected cord blood stem cells.

The auto-reinfusion therapy was planned for Sept. 22, 2009, and in preparation for the therapy, the cord blood maintained by the defendants was to be retrieved and transported to the medical facilities at Duke University, according to the suit.

Lindsay Bays claims in the retrieval and pre-shipping process, the defendants determined that bar code discrepancies existed, which raised the question of whether the available cord blood was actually Luke Bays' cord blood.

After it was confirmed that the cord blood belonged to Luke Bays, it was shipped to Duke University, however, once at Duke, the facility noted labeling concerns related to the identity of the cord blood, according to the suit.

Lindsay Bays claims due to the unresolved issues about the identity of the cord blood and medical risks created by the unresolved questions, it was determined that Duke University could not safely use the cord blood for treatment and therapy of Luke Bays' cerebral palsy.

On Oct. 2, 2009, Lindsay Bays was informed that the blood cells were unusable and that her son would not be admitted for treatment in the program, according to the suit.

Lindsay Bays claims because of the defendants' inadequate labeling, storage and processing of the cord blood, her son was unable to have any chance of improvement in or recovery from his cerebral palsy symptoms.

The defendants were negligent and breached their contract with Lindsay Bays, according to the suit.

Lindsay Bays is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Robert B. Warner and Tammy Bowles Raines.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-1664

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