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Private Rites Held for 2 More Frustaci Babies

Times Staff Writer

Samuel and Patti Frustaci buried two more septuplets next to the infants’ brother and sister in a Riverside cemetery Thursday, while one of the surviving three babies spent her first full day off a ventilator, a Childrens Hospital of Orange County spokeswoman said.

Private services were held for James Martin, who died June 6, and Bonnie Marie, who died Sunday, said spokeswoman Laura Johnson. The two were buried at Olivewood Cemetery, where the Frustacis on May 31 buried two other septuplets --Christina Elizabeth, who was stillborn, and David Anthony, who died May 24.

The condition of Patricia Ann, the firstborn of the seven, had improved so much that on Wednesday she was taken off a ventilator, which had been assisting her breathing, Johnson said. Patricia’s two brothers, Stephen Earl and Richard Charles, remain on ventilators but the amount of oxygen fed to them is being decreased, indicating improvement, she said. All three remain in the neonatal intensive care unit at Childrens Hospital.

“When she (Patricia) went off the ventilator, it was not a planned thing,” Johnson said. The neonatal staff had been changing the tubing on her ventilator when they noticed that the baby was breathing well on her own, the spokeswoman said.

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Patricia remains under an oxygen tent and is being carefully monitored, Johnson said. She may be put back onto the ventilator intermittently because her muscles and lungs are so weak that they could need assistance occasionally, she said.

Johnson said that the surviving babies still weigh less than two pounds each, but they are making daily improvements. They probably will not go home until mid-August, officials have said.

The septuplets were born by Caesarean section May 21 at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. Patti Frustaci, a high school teacher, had taken fertility drugs. She and her husband also have a 14-month-old son.


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