Saturday, March 28, 2009


I am torn by the compassion and concern that I feel for Nadya Suleman and her children with the realization that this woman who lived in a shoe made all this happen. I dislike the attention paid to and the cacophonous and resounding very public rejection of narcissistic Miss. Nadya’s seemingly irresponsible behaviors. Based on the many editorials and countless threads I have seen lately from around the world, this post is more moderate than many. Most of the reactions have been extraordinarily visceral in their condemnation of Miss. Nadya, have included death threats and are mostly unfit to repeat in even less than polite company.

For me the major issue is irresponsible behavior and ultimate accountability for that conduct. In most cases failure to perform to task or engaging irresponsible behaviors or breaking the law will result in negative consequences. Miss Nadya is being rewarded for her irresponsibility and we have allowed the achievement of her goal of more than just five minutes of fame. That may soon end, however, given her ever evolving negative image though sympathies will always be directed at the innocent victims of this debacle – the children – all fourteen of them. And, that’s what is clouding this issue…

The nation and at least the paparazzi and paying media are overly obsessed and we are now overdosed with Suleman, the divorced, single mother of fourteen (all under age eight) and the absolutely outrageous and immature decisions and events that led up to her birth of octuplets in the land of fruits, nuts and berries aka California on January 26, 2009.

At this point I could care less about this woman. Most people think she’s nuts, incredibly manipulative and from non-professional perches, in dire need of help. I shudder at the realization of her dream come true of a “huge family” and were it not such a tragedy, invite horror fiction writer Stephen King to come in and do it justice. What I do care about are her children, their health and well being and ultimate future which will, no doubt, be funded by the already strapped citizens of California and the United States.

We can all be accused of pandering to our basest desires to exploit in a tabloid frenzy those in our society who make bad or, at the least, unconventional decisions. For entertainment we live on a diet of sensationalism that’s akin to going to the stock car races for the wrecks or hockey games just for the fights. All the major networks have seen that we continue to be well-fed on a diet of exclusive interviews with Miss. Nadya this and that with a sprinkle of Gloria Allred and Dr. Phil, here and there.

It is a sick and disgusting scenario though we now appear to have hit the tipping point where public indignation is at the fore and we are paying attention to the doctor(s) that allowed this to happen. I agree that doctors aren’t policeman, but they have a legal and ethical responsibility to gage the fabric of their patients and the ultimate welfare of the resultant children. Question: Fertility treatment for a mother of six? One of the heart rending developments in this whole scenario is that there are apparently no sets of octuplets where any of the children have escaped severe disabilities.

If this isn’t one of the most egregious violations of bioethics, then I have been sleeping with the Van Winkles. However, I sure don’t want us to address the slippery slope where someone (like the Chinese) starts telling us how many children we can have. We usually depend on societal mores, financial reality and good old common sense to form those decisions. Two of those three appear to be missing here. Two states (Georgia and Missouri) are now considering bills that would limit the number of implantable embryos. Don’t know if I like that either.

One of the better lines of the season came out of this story where the fertility doctor was revealed as the one and only “Dr. Otto Octavius” (funny sort of) of the West Coast IVF Clinic who had, “egg on his face.” Aye! Many including ABC News have speculated and are now reporting that the physician is none other than Dr. Michael Kamrava, Director of the clinic who is apparently going to be asked some questions by the Medical Board of California. It will be interesting to see their conclusions. Dr. Jamie Grifo, Director of the New York University Fertility Center and member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recently stated, “Eight babies at once is a medical travesty.” Arthur Caplan, the highly regarded Chairman of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania expressed grave concerns, "I find it a huge ethical failure that she was even accepted as a patient."

It sure looks to many that this is nothing more than a glorified photo op and reality show and that’s what the apparently egocentric, self aggrandizing Miss. Nadya planned all along. This woman might be one…. no three, short of a dozen or as my son says, “One taco short of a combo plate.” All with whom I have talked feel that she is mentally ill. She appears by her own admission to be using her kids to fill some real or imagined childhood void though that has been disputed by Suleman’s Mother. Really, what’s she going to say?

Miss Nadya has apparently paid not one earned farthing for the upkeep of her new babies and without a job, the prospects of one or any visible means of support and without an appropriate home for these children, it appears that the aforementioned tax payers are going to foot the entire bill.

Suleman with her mantra, “My kids are my life”, has confidently stated despite a severely contracting economy that she will get by with, “the help of family, friends, and her church” though those folks do not appear to have materialized in sufficiency of late. Much of Suleman’s coin seems to have been generated by the press and media who appear willing to pay (NBC didn’t) for those “exclusive interviews” while they continue to pour salt into the wound and bait the field for further revelations which will surely manifest themselves. It would appear that Miss. Nadya is counting on her notoriety to generate book deals, a movie, TV series on childrearing (?) and even the sale of her video birthing the octuplets to earn a living. Gees!

Suleman's first (and former) public relations representative, the Killeen Furtney Group created and apparently maintains and still administers the Nadya Suleman Family Web site which displays the photos, names and weights of all the eight newborns. The main purpose of the site is to apparently provide a vehicle for simpaticos to donate money directly online to Miss. Nadya or send items to a Los Angeles address. We need note that Joann Killeen claims that they were assisting Suleman, pro bono as did her most recent and now departed publicist, Victor Munoz who is credited with the most recent evaluation of his former client as, “Nuts.” Munoz was apparently disgusted when as he alleges, Suleman is shopping around the aforementioned video tape of her most recent multiple births for at least, “seven figures.”

Of course, despite her protestations and assurances otherwise, we have lately found out that she is, indeed, receiving public assistance (food stamps and child disability payments for three of her first six?) and the hospital has already petitioned the state of California for assistance. It would appear that Suleman isn’t even going to get a bill for this debacle. It remains a miracle how our new multiple Octo Mom is going to engage her intent to return to school this fall and also raise her children? Do the math...

Miss Nadya is now complaining about a lack of privacy though she broadcast to the world her residence address and then basically invited you and I into her home, such as it is (gross). She bars cameras one minute and then later allows them to document one of the many squabbles and immature, manic tirades with her 69-year-old Mother, Angela Victoria Suleman who appears to be the sanest of the bunch and the only real caregiver that Miss Nadya’s first six kids have ever had. I just imagine that the new once again grandmother is scared to death what her role is now going to be in the nurturing and raising of not six but fourteen children. It would appear that despite her protestations Mother Angela may end up bearing much of the burden of raising all of Miss Nadya’s children.

Not to be outdone, personalities like Gloria Allred, attorney for the now ousted Angels in Waiting the not for profit that graciously donated nurses and care for Suleman’s new babies. Apparently Allred has been in the home and as one of the in resident personalities did not shy from the cameras and early morning TV. Her presence and the (if justified) obligatory reports to Child Protective Services (CPS) by Angels in Waiting were apparently too much for Suleman who claims that the relationship just wasn’t a good fit.

So now come the private nurses and a more controlled and scrutiny-free environment where the pot will continue to be stirred unabated on Suleman’s terms until all the seas gang dry

The fact that we have provided a ready vehicle to capitalize on an unrealistic, aberrant, fairy tale desire for a large family, despite and whatever the consequences, needs the light of day. At this point, however, I am getting so sick and tired of hearing about Suleman that I would just as soon all this would go away.

As of this writing this whole issue has apparently evolved to the point where WE are the story. Our reaction and “moral outrage” in the opinion of at least one psychoanalyst represents our jealousy and envy of Suleman’s “great achievement.” I don't know if we have witnessed such a great achievement though the estimation of this gentleman may not be far off...

We wish all the children well with our sincere hopes that they will someday achieve and live normal and healthy lives.


Ned Buxton

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