38 Years Ago, The Adams Quadruplets Made History at South Miami Hospital

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September 16, 2019

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It had never happened before in the state of Florida, and it’s happened only a few times since. On Sept. 16, 1981, Florida’s first surviving quadruplets were born at South Miami Hospital.

Patty Adams, who was just 26 at the time, had been on the fertility drug Pergonal when, on April Fool’s Day, she got the news that she was pregnant. Because there was a high risk of miscarrying, neither she nor her husband, Kent, said anything to family or friends until she was well into her third month. That was when she found out there were four babies growing in her womb.

Patty and Kent Adams just days before the birth of their quadruplets on Sept. 16, 1981

An avid runner at the time, Mrs. Adams was put on all sorts of restrictions by her doctor, Donald Hanft, a beloved OB/GYN and one-time “Doctor of the Year” at South Miami Hospital who delivered thousands of babies during his long career.

“When we found out I had four, Dr. Hanft told me I couldn’t do anything more than walk,” Mrs. Adams remembers. “I asked him if I could ride my bike instead but he said, ‘No, you could fall. You have to stay still and think of yourself as an incubator for those babies.’ I was very athletic then and the idea of not moving? That was the hardest thing for me.”

Out of an abundance of caution, Dr. Hanft ordered bedrest for Mrs. Adams when she reached her 26th week, and admitted her to South Miami Hospital. It was important to give the babies as much gestation time as possible before birth.

“I literally never went outside of my hospital room for two months. My privilege was getting up and going to the bathroom when I needed to,” Mrs. Adams recalls. “I kept myself entertained by watching TV and reading. Kent was always traveling, and I didn’t have any family here in Miami, so I felt very isolated. I got to know all the nurses really well, though.”

According to Diane Greco, R.N., a staff nurse who has worked in South Miami Hospital’s labor and post-partum units for close to 42 years, the hospital was abuzz with excitement over the pending arrival of the Adams quadruplets.

“It’s not often you get to be a part of multiple births,” Mrs. Greco said. “Everybody on staff knew about it and was volunteering to be part of the team. I was a new nurse then, and it was an exciting time for all of us.”

Back then, Mrs. Greco says, only about 100 babies a month were delivered at South Miami Hospital, now one of the premier maternity hospitals in South Florida. “Today, we have close to 350 deliveries a month.”

Then and Now:
Patty and Kent Adams at home in Florida (top) and in Texas (above) with their quadruplets (from left: Lindsay, Brooke, Clayton and Paul). Born Sept. 16, 1981 at South Miami Hospital, the babies made history as Florida’s first surviving quadruplets.

When Mrs. Adams was in her 36th week, nurses couldn’t find a heartbeat for “Baby D” during a routine check. That set everything into rapid motion, and the medical teams scrambled to prepare her for a Caesarian section – the only way her four babies could be delivered safely.

Mr. Adams, a now-retired pilot for Delta Air Lines, flew in from Chicago and made it to the maternity ward at South Miami Hospital ju