Three Frustaci Babies Progressing, Two Show No Improvement

Two of five surviving Frustaci septuplets showed no improvement Thursday, and doctors at Childrens Hospital of Orange County continued to give one of them only a 50-50 chance of survival.

Three of the 10-day-old babies were “progressing well,” however, according to Laura Johnson, spokeswoman for the hospital in the city of Orange.

Their mother, Patti Frustaci, spent her first full day out of the hospital Thursday since she was admitted March 25. The 30-year-old Riverside high school teacher is recuperating at her parents’ home in Orange.

The five babies remain on respirators in the newborn intensive care unit of Childrens Hospital and are considered in critical but stable condition, Johnson said. All suffer from hyaline membrane disease, common in premature babies with lungs not fully developed.


First-born Patricia Ann, third-born Stephen Earl and fifth-born Richard Charles are improving and doctors may try to wean them from respirators over the next week, said Dr. Carrie C. Worcester, director of the neonatal intensive care unit.

Fourth-born Bonnie Marie has not improved over the last four days but has not worsened, Worcester said.

Doctors remain most concerned about second-born James Martin, whose tiny lungs remain most affected by the hyaline membrane disease. But he, too, has not worsened over the last 24 hours, Worcester said.