GRIEVING PARENTS: Parents of Trinidad and Tobago's first sextuplets, Petra Lee Foon and her fiance Kieron Cummings, in an undated photo. The couple's firstborn, Kaylan Nasir Lee Foon-Cummings, died at the Mt Hope Children's Hospital on Saturday. 

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FIRST BORN BOY DIES

Sextuplet baby loses battle for life after 19 days

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

After fighting for life for 19 days, the firstborn of Trinidad and Tobago's first sextuplet babies has died.

A relative yesterday said the baby boy was named Kaylan Nasir Lee Foon-Cummings.

He was critically ill since he and his five brothers and sisters (two boys and three girls) were delivered via Caesarian section at the Mt Hope Women's Hospital on March 4.

Baby Kaylan died on Saturday.

The Express learnt that the other five babies are doing well and were on full feeds.

If their development continues positively, they should be discharged from hospital at 34 weeks, which is regarded as the gestational age.

The birth of the sextuplets to parents Petra Lee Foon, a teacher, and Kieron Cummings, a bank employee, was a first for the country and the Caribbean.

Within the first few days of birth, five of the babies were taken off ventilators and were breathing on their own at the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

However, baby Kaylan remained on ventilator support as a team of doctors and nurses kept a close watch on him.

The Express understands baby Kaylan suffered upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

His condition worsened on Saturday and he received CPR but later died because of his fragile condition.

His parents were at his side when he died on Saturday.

They could not be reached yesterday.

Speaking to the Express by phone, Koretta Cummings, the babies' aunt, said hospital officials called the parents on Friday and told them to come to the hospital on Saturday.

She said her brother and Lee Foon spoke to their firstborn baby boy and spent the last moments of his life with him.

"They were able to talk with him and be with him before he took his last breath," said Cummings.

"Everybody is really sad right now, but (the parents) are coping. They are trying and need to be strong for the other babies," she added.

Cummings said the families were there to lend support to the young parents.

She said the hospital staff had been very supportive and were in constant contact with the parents.

Cummings said funeral arrangements for baby Kaylan will be made tomorrow.

Chairman of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) Dr Shehenaz Mohammed confirmed the baby's death, but would not divulge details due to the sensitivity of the matter.

She said the hospital staff, especially at the NICU, were deeply saddened over the loss as doctors and nurses had "adopted" the babies as their own and were dedicated in their care for the sextuplets at the unit.

The parents, she said, have been receiving counselling and staff members continue to ensure round-the-clock care for the other five babies.

Just last week, Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal told the Express that he had met with the babies' father and referred him to the Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

He said once all prerequisites were met, the family would be allocated a home to call their own.

Lee Foon lives with her family in Chaguanas and Cummings lives with his parents at Arima.

No one seemed to be at Lee Foon's home yesterday when the Express visited.

The couple had applied to the HDC three years ago for a home.

Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh had also lent assistance to the family.

A number of grants available through the ministry were offered and the babies were also gifted units from the Unit Trust Corporation.

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