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2 Septuplets Grow Weaker

Times Staff Writer

The lung disease of two of the five surviving Frustaci septuplets worsened Monday, and the infants’ already critical condition deteriorated, hospital officials said.

Babies James Martin and Bonnie Marie, the second and fourth infants born to Patti and Sam Frustaci May 21, are being closely monitored at Childrens Hospital of Orange County, hospital spokesman Doug Wood said.

“They just took a turn for the worse,” Wood said. “Their lungs are in extremely poor condition.”

The remaining three infants, Patricia Ann, Stephen Earl and Richard Charles, “are stable and continue to make improvements,” Wood said.

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All five remain on ventilators to combat hyaline membrane disease, which makes their lungs tend to collapse after each breath because the infants lack a substance to keep their air sacs open. They are all in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The level of oxygen being fed to James and Bonnie has been increased since their condition worsened, Wood said.

The septuplets were delivered by Caesarean section at adjacent St. Joseph Hospital in Orange to Frustaci, a 30-year-old Riverside high school English teacher who had taken fertility drugs. The seventh infant, later named Christina Elizabeth, was stillborn. The sixth, David Anthony and nicknamed “Peanut” because of his size, died 64 hours later.

The two infants were buried Friday.

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Although James and Bonnie have been the sickest of the surviving five, their deterioration Monday was preceded by a weekend report that they had made “small improvement.”

TV Interviews Canceled

The babies’ changed condition prompted Patti and Sam Frustaci to cancel scheduled live interviews on the three television network morning news shows Monday, said the couple’s attorney, Andrew Wallet of Beverly Hills.

“Because the condition of two had worsened, they did not feel it was the right time,” said Jachelene DeMave, press representative for ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “They wanted to stay close at home.”

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The interviews would have coincided with this week’s publication a People magazine cover story on the Frustaci septuplets.


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