...5 babies already off ventilator
One still critical
Five of the six babies are now breathing on their own and have been removed from ventilator support.
However, one baby remains in critical condition.
The Express yesterday spoke to the team of doctors and nurses who are monitoring the babies around the clock.
Consultant paediatricians Dr Carmanee Lutchman, Dr Natalie Dick, Dr Manoj Potdar as well as head nurse of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Maureen Kelly Clark, and acting head nurse Donette Salcedo yesterday shared their experiences in the hospital's successful team effort in the babies' delivery and care.
"The babies currently are very pre-term and they are experiencing the complications of prematurity. Five of the babies have been excubated successfully and one remains critically ill and on ventilator support," said Lutchman.
She said the six babies were being treated as general pre-term babies with special considerations and special needs.
Questioned on whether the babies would face serious complications, Lutchman said, "It is way too early to make any predictions on what the long-term outcome of any of the six babies will be. Speaking generally on the outcome of babies that are born pre-term, they are considered high risk and this means they are higher than normal risk for having differences in the way they grow and develop and think and achieve."
She said all the babies were still in incubators but five were not receiving any assistance for breathing.
"It is encouraging but I wouldn't want to use that for any prediction because with pre-term babies, they are sometimes unpredictable. If they suffer any setback they may need further support in the Neonatal ICU," she said.
Dick, who is also a developmental behavioural paediatrician, said the last time the unit looked after a multiple pregnancy was a case of triplets some years ago.
"The risks for managing any pre-term babies are multiplied when they are coming out of a multiple pregnancy," she said.
She said the unit was very aware of the responsibility it bears.
"We work as a team, it has been an extremely rewarding experience so far to see our entire neonatal team function with the extra support from the administration and all auxiliary services, " she said.
She said behind each baby was a full team which not only includes the doctors but the nurses, nursing assistants, custodians, radiographers and more.
Dick added the San Fernando and Port of Spain General hospitals had also been of great assistance in accepting babies that needed to be transferred.
Dr Potdar, when questioned, said it cannot yet be determined when the babies would be released.
He said many factors and complications would have to be examined in the next four weeks before any such decision was taken.
Clark told the Express a lot of preparatory work was done to ensure not only a smooth delivery but the care in the Neonatal Unit.
"We had to do a lot of leg work beforehand, there was a lot of preparation, putting things into place," she said.
She said extra staff and equipment were organised and teams allocated for the babies.
Clark said as of yesterday, in addition to the sextuplets, there were 14 babies in the unit.
"We had to prepare for the unusual six arriving at one time, without compromising the others... we had to make sure that no other parents felt slighted," she said.
"I think we managed that pretty well, we ensured all things were catered for...thank God I haven't had any complaints. They (other parents) are actually as excited as all of us that their children are here at the same time," said Clark.
Salcedo said, "I must say the team effort was great, we are happy and comfortable with how everything went."
She added she was overwhelmed, having been part of the historic births and now she looks forward to the babies being healthy enough to go home.