LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles is apologizing after a freezer failure destroyed the stored blood stem cells of dozens of patients.
The hospital sent out letters Thursday, apologizing for losing the stem cells despite safeguards officials say were in place. A released statement said in part that “no child’s health is in jeopardy due to this incident.”
The destroyed blood stem cells were collected from 56 patients and were being stored in a freezer long-term. The hospital said the cells are collected early on in a child’s oncology treatment in case they can be used in the future.
The freezer that malfunctioned has been replaced, and the hospital says they have upgraded its sensor monitoring and alert system.
Stem cells are unspecialized and can be used to create other types of tissue and organ cells. As chemotherapy can destroy stem cells, harvested cells can be transplanted into a child so that child’s body can produce mature blood cells once again.
The hospital says families who have not been contacted have not been affected by the mishap. Affected families can call 1-877-677-2130 to get more information.