Doctor optimistic about octuplets
Mother leaves ICU for private room
HOUSTON (CNN) -- The mother of the world's first known set of surviving octuplets was moved Tuesday from the intensive care unit and into a private room, where she was in good spirits, hospital officials said.
Nkem Chukwu, 27, was in stable condition at Houston's St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital after undergoing surgery Monday to stop internal bleeding.
"She is in very high spirits, and very optimistic," said obstetrician Dr. Brian Kirshon.
The babies -- six girls and two boys -- remained in critical condition Tuesday, after spending a quiet night at Texas Children's Hospital, doctors said.
"All the babies are coming along nicely," pediatrician Dr. Patti Savrick told CNN on Tuesday morning. "We're very optimistic about all the babies, guardedly optimistic about the smallest babies."
The babies father, Iyke Paul Louis, was "very excited," Kirshon said.
The first of the babies was delivered naturally December 8, about 12 weeks premature. Doctors delivered the remaining seven Sunday by Caesarean section. The Chukwu family has yet to name the children, referred to as babies A-H in news releases.
Baby A, who was born first, is the only one of the octuplets breathing on her own. Baby E, another girl, is the smallest, weighing just over 10 ounces and measuring just under 10 inches long. All are being fed intravenously.
A questions of ethics
Since news of the births, hospital officials say donations for the family have been pouring in, including a lifetime supply of diapers, baby wipes and disposable pants. A local grocery chain, Randall's Food Market, donated a year's worth of groceries, and Mead Johnson Nutritionals gave a one-year supply of baby food.
The cost of raising the children is staggering. Dr. Leonard Weisman, Texas Children's chief neonatologist, estimated that it would cost $250,000 per baby to get them healthy enough to go home. Doctors said the infants could remain hospitalized for up to two months.
The high cost and potential for health problems -- Weisman said there was an 85 percent chance the babies would pull through -- focused debate on ethical issues surrounding multiple births and the use of fertility drugs.
"For certain families who are having trouble conceiving, I think they are a success," Weisman said. "The problem, the side effect is you wind up with all these multiple pregnancies, multiple births which result in a lot of increase in health problems."
Doctors say the parents refused their offer to abort some of the fetuses to give others a better chance of survival.
"Due to personal and religious beliefs, she elected not to do that and we've continued to support her decision and care for her babies that are born," Weisman said.
Correspondent Charles Zewe contributed to this report.
Back to the top
© 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.