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Quintuplets Born in South Dakota

Sept. 14, 1963 - Quintuplets — a boy and four girls — were born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Aberdeen, S.D., early today to the 30-year-old wife of a grocery shipping clerk. Dr. James Berbos, who delivered the babies, said all five were “getting along very well.” Two other physicians assisted. No anesthetics were used. “As far as I can tell right now, they are going to be all right,” he said. “The next few days are the most crucial. They were born prematurely, and their systems are premature. We are watching them closely.” He and Sister Mary Stephen, the hospital administrator, said the mother, Mary Ann Fischer, also was “doing nicely.” The babies were delivered over a period of 1 hour 3 minutes, between 1:58 and 3:01 a.m. The babies weigh from 2½ to 4 pounds each, and are 18 inches long. At 2 p.m., they were baptized and confirmed by the Most Rev. Lambert A. Hoch, Bishop of the Sioux Falls Diocese. Bishop Hoch said confirmation was a rite usually reserved for children aged 7 or older unless there was a danger of death. The boy was named James Andrew. Each of the girls was named Mary. They will get middle names when the babies are formally baptized in a church later. Quintuplets occur about once in every 54 million births. No quintuplets previously born in the U.S. have ever survived infancy, and only two sets of quintuplets born in the Western Hemisphere have survived infancy. President and Mrs. Kennedy wired their “best wishes and hearty congratulations” to the Fischers. “It is an event of great national pride,” they said in a brief message dispatched to St. Luke’s Hospital. “We wish Mrs. Fischer a speedy convalescence and the continued satisfactory progress of the infants.” President Kennedy’s physician, Admiral George Burkley, later telephoned the hospital to check on the babies’ condition.


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