“I got a letter from the Department of Justice saying ‘Victoria Seidl, you were a victim of a federal crime,’” Victoria Seidl said.
It was personal, painful realization that Seidl said she knew in her gut months before, that something went awfully wrong during her In vitro fertilization, or IVF, procedure at the Yale University Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Clinic.
“This is something you never think that's going to happen to you and something that almost feels like something was taken from you,” Seidl said.
Not only did Seidl learn her implanted embryo did not lead to a pregnancy, she found out the pain medication she was told she received during her procedure had been taken by one of the clinic’s nurses. And Seidl wasn’t the only victim.
Czar said she experienced similar, torturous pain during her two IVF egg retrievals. Both women are now part of a newly filed civil lawsuit involving 59 women against the clinic.
“Over at least a five-month period in 2020, a Yale University nurse was able to steal the contents of hundreds of vials of fentanyl—a pain medication 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine—from the opioid stockpiles at the REI Clinic and replace the medication with saline, which was subsequently administered to the clinic’s patients. The result was that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of women underwent the most painful fertility surgeries and procedures offered at the REI Clinic with little or no analgesia,” according to the lawsuit.
“It just makes you wonder how she got away with it,” Seidl said.
In May of last year, Donna Monticone was sentenced in federal court to tampering with at least 175 fentanyl vials. A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation found about 75% of the fentanyl given to patients at Yale REI clinic was affected.
These women are now hoping accountability will come from the clinic as they continue to consider undergoing the procedure again with the memory of their nightmare.
“I know that they changed the practices and I should be medicated next time but it’s scary,” Czar said.
Monticone pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product.
NBC Connecticut tried reaching out to her attorney as well as Yale REI Clinic but hasn’t heard back.
In an earlier statement, Yale said it reported the nurse’s actions to authorities and patients. As a result, they said they were reworking internal systems around controlled substances at the clinic.
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