MEDI-CAL: Mother Of Quadruplets Relied On Program
A 55-year-old woman who delivered premature quadruplets conceived via in-vitro fertilization used Medi-Cal to pay for "prenatal care after going broke early in her pregnancy." The AP/Contra Costa Times reports that Merryl Fudel "paid for her in-vitro fertilization techniques with $20,000 that she borrowed," but went "broke early in her pregnancy" and has been on Medi-Cal since December. According to court records, Fudel is currently single, but has been married five times. "The boy and three girls were born April 18 at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in Kearny Mesa, [CA], three months premature," and are in critical condition, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The mother may eventually face millions of dollars in medical expenses. Dr. Cristo Zouves, the fertility specialist who performed the fertilization, "said he did not intend Fudel to have multiple births." He said, "This is a disaster and the very thing we strive not to have happen." Multiple embryos are routinely planted in such cases "to assure a birth," but the understanding is that any unintended fetuses must be aborted. Neonatal experts said that a woman at 55 is more likely to have complications with her pregnancy and premature labor and that babies born premature face a "10 to 20% chance of being handicapped." Zouves defended his decision to fertilize Fudel saying, "We have to use other factors, such as physical and mental health, and apply those to a 25-year-old as well as a 50-year-old" (4/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.