Nadya Suleman apparently has bigger worries than taking care of her 14 children. Talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw says she may have to prove she can handle the load, or else have hospital officials withhold her newborn octuplets.
McGraw said the 33-year-old unemployed mother called him Tuesday, distraught that Kaiser Permanente officials told her they were concerned about the babies living at her home in suburban Los Angeles.
"What she is telling me is that unless and until she has a better living arrangement, that they are not likely to release the children to her," McGraw told the Los Angeles Times.
Suleman has taped two episodes of McGraw's "Dr. Phil" show. The first was scheduled to air Wednesday.
Suleman gave birth to the octuplets Jan. 26 in Kaiser's hospital in nearby Bellflower. She has six other children, lives in her mother's three-bedroom home in Whittier and relies on food stamps and disability income to provide for them. The home is under threat of foreclosure and could be sold at auction beginning May 5 because Suleman's mother is $23,225 behind in her mortgage payments, property records show.
Kaiser officials declined to comment on Suleman's case.
"Any conversations that the mother may or may not have had on this topic are private and we could not discuss them," said Kaiser spokesman Jim Anderson.
Social workers evaluate parents of very premature babies to determine what services the children and family may be entitled to, said Vicky Bermudez, a neonatal intensive care unit nurse at the Kaiser hospital in Roseville.
The octuplets were born nine weeks premature.
"If they feel there's a risk to a baby, they contact Child Protective Services and Child Protective Services would make a determination as to whether or not there's a reason for concern," Bermudez said.
A call to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services was not returned Tuesday night.
Suleman has not responded to repeated interview requests from The Associated Press. Her phone has been disconnected and she no longer has a publicist.