Settlement for Boy Retarded at Birth Could Top $16 Million

A 5-year-old Oxnard boy reportedly could receive $16.8 million during his lifetime as a result of a settlement reached with Port Hueneme Adventist Hospital in a lawsuit that alleged his delivery at birth was so badly mishandled that he has no chance of ever becoming a normal adult.

A $1.3-million annuity set up for Aurelio Ramirez is based on a life expectancy of 65 to 68 years, said Robert Herman, the family's attorney. Herman said the boy has been severely retarded since his birth on April 4, 1979.

It was determined before the boy was born that he would have to be delivered by Caesarean section. But when his mother went into labor, there were so many delays that resulting complications left the boy a spastic quadriplegic. Herman said the child is unable to talk or take care of himself and will require constant care throughout his life.

$3,300 Monthly Payments

Under the annuity, approved by the Ventura County Superior Court, the boy will receive monthly payments of $3,300 for the rest of his life. These payments will increase by 3% each year. In addition, the boy will receive three cash payments of $100,000 each in 1995, 2005 and 2015, Herman said.

Aurelio Ramirez Sr. and Maria Ramirez, the boy's parents, will receive an immediate cash payment of $50,000. Herman said Saturday that a trial on the suit against the physician who performed the operation, Dr. Lawrence McAlpine, is set to begin May 20. Herman said that the doctor is no longer on the hospital staff.

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