A longtime Riverside County woman who more than three decades ago gave birth to septuplets at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange in what was then the largest multiple birth in the United States died on Saturday, Feb. 10.
A service is set for March 2 to remember Patti Frustaci, 63, who drew national attention following the birth of her seven children. The cause of Frustaci’s death was not disclosed in an obituary prepared by the Acheson & Graham Garden of Prayer Mortuary in Riverside.
In the mid-1980s, Frustaci, then an English teacher at Rubidoux High School, and her husband, Sam, sought fertility assistance. The couple had a son.
On May 21, 1985, the babies were born 12 weeks prematurely. Doctors at St. Joseph’s Hospital, who had spent months preparing for the births, delivered the four boys and three girls by Cesarean section.
The smallest child, Christina Elizabeth, was stillborn. Within weeks, three more of the infants died because of health problems that affect premature babies.
The medical expenses soon rose to more than $1 million. The bills were only partially offset by offers of free food, goods and services that quickly faded away, along with an exclusive interview contract the family had with People magazine.
Months after the births, the family filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the fertility clinic that treated Frustaci….