THE STATE, Columbia, South Carolina, Page F21, July 10, 1992.


The Associated Press
Spartanburg, South Carolina. A boy who was in a coma for more than six years while a legal battle raged around him has died. But the legal fighting will continue.

Allen A. Ervin was born in July 1985 and had been on life support since December 1985, when his brain was damaged from oxygen deprivation during circumcision.

He died at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, three weeks before his 7th birthday. Doctors said he suddenly suffered severe heart problems, his mother, Stacey Stroble, said.

The Anesthesiologists who attended to Allen during the circumcision settled the case for $435,000 and agreed to lifetime payment of his medical bills.

Spartanburg County Probate Court officials are overseeing the estate. Lawyer Charles Rice, who is in charge of investing the money, says a judge will have to decide who gets it.

It angers Stroble, 21, who has two young daughters, that she may have to hire another attorney to file a claim for her son's estate.

"The money's not my concern right now," she said. "But I have to pay for the funeral. I don't think that's right."

Allen's medical problems began when oxygen was pushed into his stomach, instead of his lungs, court records showed. Anesthesiologists inserted a tube into the baby's stomach to relieve the pressure but administered three times the recommended dosage of a drug to slow his abnormally high heart rate, stopping it.

He was revived 30 minutes later but never regained consciousness, although Stroble said Allen's eyes and head often followed the voices of people visiting him in his hospital room.

The legal problems began before that, however.

Stroble was 14 years old and unmarried when she gave birth to Allen. At the request of her mother, Maggie Ervin, a Family Court judge in October 1985 placed both mother and child in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

The custody disputes and guardianship fights went through seven state and federal courts, including the state Supreme Court and the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

(File revised 5 May 2008)

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