Patti Frustaci

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On May 21, 1985, a 38-member medical team assembled at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, California, United States, to assist in what was to become the first largest multiple births in the medical history of the United States of America.

Patti Frustaci, a 30-year-old English teacher at Rubidoux High School was wheeled into the delivery room of St. Joseph's Hospital. It took only three minutes for the caesarean section to deliver the first septuplets to be born in the United States. The birth of the Frustaci septuplets does not constitute a miracle in that it can be explained by means of the known laws of nature.

While the birth of the Frustaci septuplets marked the finale of months of careful preparation on the part of the medical team,
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Earlier Patty had conceived a child, a healthy toddler named Joseph, after treatment with the drug at the Tyler Medical Clinic.

Ultrasound examinations performed during the following January revealed the presence of seven fetuses.

Patti Frustaci was confined to the hospital from March 25, 1985.

The average duration of a normal pregnancy is 280 days (40 weeks), calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period, and 85 to 95% babies are born between the 266th and the 294thdays. Common deviations thus range up to 14 days in either direction. However, in the Frustaci case, the medical team determined that the babies would have a much better chance of survival if they completed 28 weeks of gestation in the mother's womb before their birth.

Patti's hypertension threatened to deprive the fetuses of nutrition. As a result of hypertension, surgery was scheduled after her condition declined from good to fair.

On May 21, 1985, Patti delivered prematurely at 28 weeks, assisted by a 38-member medical team. The birth of the Frustaci septuplets does not constitute a miracle in that it can be explained by means of the known laws of
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of West Los Angeles, the fertility clinic that treated Patti Frustaci, and her physician, Dr. Jaroslav Marik who prescribed Patti's fertility drug. The suit accused the clinic and the physician of failing to monitor fertility medication properly and to perform tests that could have indicated the potential for multiple births before conception. It blamed them for health and developmental disabilities of the surviving three babies who are afflicted with eye problems and are considered developmentally retarded. The suit also alleged medical malpractice, four wrongful deaths of their babies, loss of earnings and of earning capacity as a result of the overprescription of the fertility drugs. The Frustacis sought $1 million for current and future medical expenses, and $1.25 million for non-economic losses - $250,000 for each parent and for each of the three surviving infants.

The fertility clinic admitted no wrongdoing.

The suit was settled in July 1990. Tyler Medical clinic agreed to pay $450,000 immediately and the three children would receive monthly payments for the rest of their lives. If the surviving three children live to a normal life expectancy, the award could total $6 million.

Dr. Marik, the fertility specialist who treated Patti Frustaci, refused to participate in the agreement and was dismissed as a defendant. The doctor said at a news conference that he was

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