- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 2, 2001

The dramatic — and successful — births nearly three weeks ago garnered headlines across the world. But now the parents of the Washington-area septuplets are trying to escape the media limelight as they monitor the slow progress of their seven children.
The Saudi Arabian couple — the Qahtanis — who live in Falls Church, are still regular visitors to the neonatal intensive care unit of Georgetown University Hospital, where five of the children — all boys — had been on ventilators until Tuesday, when one of the boys, Bandar, was taken off. Of the seven children, five are boys and two are girls. The mother, who does not wish to be identified, was released from the hospital last week.
The parents have expressed gratitude for the unsolicited gifts they have received, including seven car seats, but the father, Fahad Qahtani, has declined interviews with the press until the children's planned release from the hospital in mid-to-late September.
"He does not want to be known. He does not want any pictures taken of him, and he does not want to be stopped on the street. He wants to be able to walk in and out of the hospital and in and out of toy stores without being disturbed," said Nail Al-Jubeir, a family spokesman from the Saudi Embassy.
Mr. Jubeir said he has been surprised by the "unbelievable calls" he has received from marketers trying to get the family to sponsor a product, adding that marketing was the "farthest thing from our minds."
The estimated $1 million in family medical bills will be paid by the Saudi government.
"The bills are going to get picked up by the government. [The parents'] biggest concern after [the septuplets] are released from the hospital is how they are going to feed them. Seven is quite a handful," said Mr. Jubeir.
All donations, including cash, that have been sent to the family are being turned over to Georgetown University Hospital at the father's request.
The septuplets, who were born 11 weeks early by Caesarean section on July 12, are still on antibiotics to counter staph infections, which are common in premature babies, and are being fed through tubes.
"It's moment by moment. I would not say they are stable Are they resting continually and all they have to do is just lie there? No. They're still in critical condition," said Marianne Worley, spokeswoman for Georgetown University Hospital.

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