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Doctor Wants Saudi Septuplets Home

March 1, 1998

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ A Saudi hospital has threatened to call the police if the parents of seven-week old septuplets don’t take their babies home.

Four of the seven babies were issued discharge slips last week but their parents say they are not ready to take them home. Doctors said Sunday that the hospital nursery is overcrowded and they are running out of patience.

``I told their parents that if they do not take them home soon, we will call the police to make sure they do. I have 26 babies in a nursery that has a capacity for 20,″ said Hind Moussa, a pediatrician at Abha Maternity Hospital in the southern Saudi city of Abha where the babies were born 8 weeks premature.

The four boys and three girls _ only the third set of septuplets known to have been born alive _ were born to Hasna Mohammed Humair, a 40-year-old housewife, on Jan. 14.

Humair says the unplanned pregnancy occurred while she was taking a fertility drug to regulate her menstrual cycle, and that she is still not ready for the responsibility of caring for the babies.

Moussa said the three girls and a boy who are ready to go home were in good health and growing well. She expects the remaining three boys to be ready to leave the hospital by next week.

Moussa said she’s managed to get local companies to pledge supplies of free milk and diapers for the babies. She suggested that Humair take home at least two of the babies to get used to caring for them.

Humair, who shares her two-bedroom home with her husband and six other children, says she’s been constantly tired since the delivery and would prefer to have some help before bringing the babies home.

The hospital turned down her husband’s request to send someone to take care of the babies, Humair said.

The father, Abdullah Mohammed Ali, 55, is a retired civil defense employee who supplements his $1,066 monthly pension by driving a cab. Saudi newspapers have reported he has two other wives and nine children in addition to the septuplets.

Islam allows men up to four wives at a time if they can support them.

Another set of septuplets was born in Saudi Arabia in September, but only one child lived. In November, American Bobbi McCaughey also gave birth in Iowa to seven children, all of whom survived.

The last two McCaughey babies who remained hospitalized after their birth were brought home Sunday. Some 60 volunteers work in shifts at the McCaughey’s three-bedroom home in Carlisle, Iowa, to care for the babies.

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