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Hospital wants proof Suleman can care for octuplets, she tells Dr. Phil [CORRECTED]

Suleman Nadya Suleman told TV host Dr. Phil McGraw on Tuesday that she fears Kaiser Permanente Medical Center may not release her octuplets to her until she proves she can care for them.

In an interview with The Times, McGraw said Suleman called him Tuesday afternoon, distressed after talking to Kaiser officials. Suleman taped two episodes of McGraw’s show, the first of which is scheduled to run Wednesday.

“What she is telling me is that unless and until she has a better living arrangement, that they are not likely to release the children to her,” McGraw said.

Suleman, a single mother who already has six children and gave birth to octuplets Jan. 26, lives in Whittier with her mother in a three-bedroom home that is in pre-foreclosure. She does not have a job and relies on government assistance, including food stamps and disability income for three of her six older children.

McGraw said Suleman told him that hospital officials had some concerns about her “ability to care for the children.” He did not have detailed information about their concerns or what standards she might not be meeting.

Kaiser officials declined to comment on Suleman’s case.

“Any conversations that the mother may or may not have had on this topic are private and we could not discuss them,” Jim Anderson, director of media relations for Kaiser Permanente Southern California, said in a statement to The Times. “In general, mothers with multiple births who have babies in the neonatal intensive care unit are given advice and counsel about what they need to have in place to care for the children when they are discharged. There is a multidisciplinary team that works with them in advance to offer advice and support.”

Typically, Kaiser does not discharge babies until they have reached at least 35 weeks of gestational and post-birth development, said Vicki Bermudez, a regulatory policy specialist with the California Nurses Assn. and a neonatal intensive care unit nurse at the Kaiser hospital in Roseville.

When the infants reach 35 weeks of development, they are released if they can maintain their body temperature, eat regularly and without difficulty and demonstrate continued growth. Often, the children are about 5 pounds when they are released, she said. 

In all cases involving very premature babies, social workers are assigned to evaluate parents and to determine what services the children and family may be entitled to, Bermudez said.

“If they feel there’s a risk to a baby, they contact Child Protective Services and Child Protective Services would make a determination as to whether or not there’s a reason for concern,” Bermudez said.

Corrected, 9 p.m.: A previous version of this post said the octuplets are 34 weeks old; they are actually 4 weeks old. The post also said that the hospital typically does not release premature babies until they are 35 weeks old; in fact, they are typically released after 35 weeks of pre- and post-birth development.

Read complete story here.

-- Jessica Garrison and Kimi Yoshino

Photo: NBC

Previously on L.A. Now

Man wants DNA test to see if he is octuplets' father

Father of octuplets' mother calls her "absolutely irresponsible"

Octuplets' mother gets a giant babysitting offer

House where octuplets' mom lives is in danger of foreclosure

Octuplets' mom identifies her fertility clinic in Beverly Hills

Octuplets story takes surreal turns, including You Tube video

Comments () | Archives (17)

It's about time someone tried to talk some sense to this woman! By her admission, she only wanted another girl. Divide up the kids to other families; they will share their birthbond forever irregardless. Does OctoMom really realize how much 8 babies will cost, much less 14 kids?

"The octuplets are 34 weeks old."

Huh? don't you mean 4 weeks old? "The Associated Press, lifted the veil of secrecy in which Suleman shrouded herself after the Jan. 26 birth of her octuplets."

Good. The hospital has a responsibility to make sure that the babies are being released into a safe environment. It's a slippery slope, but in this situation someone needs to be responsible.

As it should be. How the h e l l is she going to care for 14 kids in a 3-room house? She's living off her mother. The babies shouldn't be taken away, but she should be chained to the house and take care of every single one; and not her mother. You notice the father has fleed the whole scene, he's fed up.

I'm glad that finally someone is putting their foot down. This has become a circus. Those children shouldn't be released to that iresponsable woman. I hope the board of supervisors and the dept. of children and family services get involved in this case. Hopefully, the board of supervisor will remember the incident involving DCFS when they failed to prevent the death of an infant in skid road.

You mean 34 days, not 34 weeks.

Finally someone is showing some good sense. The authorities must monitor this case and step in if necessary since the mother appears to be incapable of making rational and responsible decisions regarding the best interests of her family and children.

Hopefully CPS will not let political correctness blindside their intelligence and ability to properly assess this mess. These children should definitely be put into foster care and not released to this ill equipped family. But most likly they will be very PC and handle this fool with kid gloves. She will get all the nurses she needs round the clock and at our expense of course.

Uh, you might want to change weeks to days. Even though it feels like we've been reading about Octomom for 34 weeks.

34 weeks? Isn't that like 8 months? Or are you multiplying each week of life x 8? Odd.

OF COURSE she is calling Dr. Phil and her father is calling Oprah and her mother is doing interviews with whoever wants to interview her -- The Money Tree is not producing the free fast bucks fast enough! She KNOWS that she will be taken care of by SOMEBODY and that is why she has that smug, arrogant, sly look on her face and collegan-enhanced Mona Lisa smile on her lips.
She will do WHATEVER IT TAKES (EXCEPT WORK) to get a mini-mansion for her family so she can relax again and prepare for the next round of plastic surgery while her mother takes care of the babies ... oh, and isn't she just soooo lovely to her mother? Spoiled rotton brat. And she can't understand why her parents left her an only child. I think it's obvious now why the Sulemans stopped having kids after they had Her.

Well I'm confused that's for sure...if the hospital plans on holding these babies until they're "35 weeks" old, that means they will be in Kaiser's care for almost nine months. But the article goes on to state that the children are 34 weeks old, after having only been born in January, 2009, and should be ready to leave the hospital next week.

If the intent of the reporter was to explain that the hospital would keep the babies until they had reached their 35th week of the gestation cycle, rather than the after birth age of 35 weeks, that should have been clearly explained in the article. Which it was not.

That type of writing, and lack of editing, can lead to very strong misunderstandings of the facts involved in this and other cases. I do expect better of The LA Times. Thanks and peace

While she is very attached to the 6 children at home, and they to her, and this family should not be separated due to her negligence, it is important that these eight newborns not go home to this situation.

She obviously has some kind of mental illness or personality disorder. I think the best placement for the octuplets would be two by two into loving adoptive homes. Someone should have tried to stop her long before this.

The doctor should be strung up by his own reproductive parts.

Too bad nobody raised these questions before those innocent children were born.

This is just another shining example of why I am against the welfare system. I can understand someone needing help for a short period of time but why should the rest of us work everyday so that people like this mother, can keep having babies and stay on the system. There needs to be a cut off point where you can only be on welfare for a cartain amount of time in your lifetime. It is meant to be there to assist people who are struggling, not become a way of life. Getting up and going to work everyday is just not that difficult. It is something that every adult should do. I'm sick of people raising yet another generation of welfare families...GET A JOB!!!!!!

Survivor : Baby Island

That's where this is heading.


There is a "cut off point where you can only be on welfare for a cartain amount of time in your lifetime" -- when TANF replaced AFDC, a five-year lifetime limit was placed on benefits.

I am sick of people railing against public assistance without even understanding how it works. I've also seen numerous references to welfare recipients receiving additional money for each child, which is patently untrue -- a family's cash grant generally does not increase with the birth of additional children. All that happens is the children are eligible for Medi-Cal and food stamps. Should poor children be sentenced to poor health and nutrition because of the circumstances or bad decisions of their parents?


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