May 20, 1999 12:00 AM

Six of the seven surviving octuplets were breathing on their own Monday, while one continued to receive assistance from a ventilator. Baby boy Ikem was removed from a ventilator Sunday at the neonatal unit of Texas Children’s Hospital, joining his brother Jioke and sisters Ebuka, Chidi, Chima and Echerem in breathing without assistance. Their sister Gorom, the youngest octuplet who underwent surgery to repair an abdominal perforation Dec. 26, remained attached to a mechanical ventilator today. All seven remained in critical but stable condition. The babies’ mother, Nkem Chukwu, delivered Ebuka on Dec. 8 and her seven siblings on Dec. 20. The tiniest, Odera, died of heart and lung failure Dec. 27.

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