The firstborn Frustaci septuplet will be released from Childrens Hospital of Orange County on Wednesday, but she will leave her two brothers behind, a hospital spokeswoman said Thursday.
Three-month-old Patricia Ann Frustaci has gained enough weight and is healthy enough to go home to Riverside with parents Samuel and Patti Frustaci, said spokeswoman Laura Johnson. She described the baby's health as "just wonderful."
Patricia's two brothers, Richard Charles and Stephen Earl, are "doing fine, but they haven't gained the weight to go home," Johnson said.
Johnson said that babies must weigh between 4 1/2 and 5 pounds before they are released from the neonatal intensive care unit, where premature and critically ill babies are cared for. She said the family has not authorized the hospital to release the weights or other information about the Frustaci babies.
Patti Frustaci, a Riverside high school teacher, had taken fertility drugs before giving birth 12 weeks prematurely to four boys and three girls at St. Joseph Hospital on May 21. The last septuplet, later named Christina Elizabeth, was stillborn.
Five of the six babies at birth weighed between 1 1/2 pounds and 1 pound, 13 ounces, while the sixth--affectionately dubbed "The Peanut" because of his size-- weighed 1 pound, 1 ounce.
Hyaline Membrane Disease
The six babies all suffered from hyaline membrane disease, an affliction common among premature babies that causes their lungs to collapse after each breath because the infants lack a substance to keep the air sacs open.
The disease caused the death of Peanut--later named David Anthony--64 hours after his birth. Two other septuplets, James Martin and Bonnie Marie, also died from the disease within the next three weeks.
Spokeswoman Johnson said that the three surviving septuplets have been off respirators "for some time" and are gaining strength.
She said that there are "several (health) requirements" babies in the neonatal unit must meet before they can go home, "with weight being the largest of them."
Johnson said that additional information about the three surviving septuplets would be released when Patricia Ann goes home with her parents.
The Frustacis also have a 17-month-old son, who also was conceived after Patti Frustaci took fertility drugs.