Talk about she said-she said!
The war of words between Nadya Suleman and the volunteer nannies she dismissed March 23 took a heated turn on The Dr. Phil Show Wednesday when one from the group Angels in Waiting alleged the octuplets’ mom cared more about her own celebrity than the welfare of her children.
“This woman does not care for these kids,” Linda West-Conforti said on the talk show. “She is in [it] for the paparazzi, the media. That is my opinion. I’ve been there for a week. I’m the eyes, the ears and the mouth of these little children.”
The fired nanny said Suleman was often unreachable – or out shopping – and showed no level of interest in learning how to care for her children.
“Nadya only fed her babies … when a film crew was in her house,” West-Conforti said. “That’s the only time that woman ever volunteered to feed a child. And I tell you what happened: During one episode she was done feeding … she picked up the child [and] gave it to me on my chest. She didn’t burp it; she didn’t change the diaper; [she] walked out of that room and [didn’t see] her for another 12 hours.”
While Suleman was not on the talk show to answer back – she phoned in early to discuss why she fired the AIW nannies – her attorney Jeff Czech denied all the allegations.
“Nadya is a very good mother and a very caring mother. The bottom line is the shoe just never fit,” he said of the short-lived arrangement with Angels in Waiting.
More incendiary, West-Conforti says Suleman’s blasé attitude was only the start of the problems in the house. One major cause for concern: Nannies that Suleman hired who were potential health risks to her children.
“I was supposed to be there to train nannies, to train Nadya,” West-Conforti said on the show. “What I get is Hispanic-speaking ladies that are showing up, showing positive for TB.”
West-Conforti was referring to an incident in which she says she saw what appeared to be a “a huge, raised induration” on the arm of one of Suleman’s private nannies – an indication, said West-Conforti, that the woman had taken a skin test for tuberculosis and received a positive result. (A reaction to the skin test does not necessarily indicate the presence of active tuberculosis; further testing is usually required.)
Suleman maintained she is a fit and caring mother – and repeated earlier assertions that the AIW, who reported her state child welfare authorities on three occasions, were acting as “spies.”
“I felt extremely uncomfortable in my own home,” Suleman told Dr. Phil by phone. “I felt like a stranger in my own home. I felt ostracized. In addition to that, there was such poor communication … [and] incessant negative energy.”
Later that day, attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Angels in Waiting, held a press conference to discuss the three complaints the group made to child welfare authorities. She said they addressed AIW’s concerns that too many people were inside Suleman’s house on the evening the first babies came home; its belief that Suleman needs more security at her home; and the fact that some of the nannies hired by Suleman might have tested positive for tuberculosis.
Said Allred, “She needs to spend time with those babies and not just when there’s a camera present.”
• Reporting by JOHHNY DODD