A medical report from the doctor who resuscitated two infants at a suburban Chicago hospital is both a success story and a cautionary tale. Once the tiniest babies ever born, both girls are now thriving, despite long odds when they entered the world weighing less than a pound.
One is a healthy first-grader, the other an honors college student majoring in psychology. The report involves Madeline Mann, born in 1989 weighing 9.9 ounces, then the world record; and 7-year-old Rumaisa Rahman, whose 9.2-ounce birth weight remains the world’s tiniest. These two are the exceptions as most babies this small do poorly and many do not survive even with advanced medical care.
Dr Jonathan Muraskas of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood said:
“These are such extreme cases. They should not be considered “a benchmark” to mean that doctors should try to save all babies so small.”
Dr. Muraskas, a board-certified Pediatrician specializing in Neonatal-Perinatal medicine according to Vitals, further added that his report highlights a sometimes overlooked fact: gestational age is even more critical for survival than size.
Rumaisa and Madeline were both palm-sized, weighing less than a can of soda pop — the average size of an 18-week-old fetus. Their gestational ages — almost 26 weeks for Rumaisa and almost 27 weeks for Madeline — meant their lungs and other organs were mature enough to make survival possible. But both required intensive medical intervention.
Most newborn specialists consider babies born after 25 weeks of pregnancy to be viable — likely to survive — and so they should receive medical intervention if necessary to breathe. Younger babies are generally in a “gray zone,” where intervention isn’t always so clear cut.