Modern medicine is truly a wonderful thing. We can treat or even cure diseases that would cripple or kill a mere handful of decades ago.
However, the overall proficiency of physicians can sometimes lead us into dangerous thinking: We begin to believe that doctors are infallible.
That simply isn’t true, and nowhere is it shown more clearly than in the birth of premature babies. Infants who were once given no chance of life are now surviving and, in the case of a Tokyo infant, even thriving.
According to Agence France-Presse, the world’s smallest baby was born at 24 weeks in Tokyo in August. The itty-bitty baby weighed less than 10 ounces.
That’s about the size of a large onion. According to CBS News, you could cradle the little boy in both of your cupped hands.
In years past, a birth at that nascent state of development would’ve served as a death sentence. Many nations have refused medical help for babies that small.
However, Keio University Hospital chose not to see the situation like that. Unlike countries such as the United Kingdom, where The Conversation Media Group reports that “withdrawal or withholding life-sustaining treatment from critically ill infants is in their best interests,” Japanese doctors fought for the little life.
Miraculously, the baby survived after spending five full months in the hospital.
After that period, the child had grown from just under 10 ounces to more than 7 pounds. He had a healthy appetite and was eating normally.
“I can only say I’m happy that he has grown this big because honestly, I wasn’t sure he could survive,” the boy’s mother said. In truth, neither were the doctors who took care of him.
Doctor Takeshi Arimitsu, the primary physician who cared for the child, said that he hoped the case would show that “there is a possibility that babies will be able to leave the hospital in good health even though they are born small.”
That’s exactly what the little boy did. Two months after he was due to be born, he went home, as healthy as he could be.
Keio University Hospital said that that’s usually rare with baby boys because premature females have a better chance of survival than males.
Why? No one is exactly sure. Some hypothesize that lung development, which tends to take place a little later in boys, may play a part.
Not only did the tiny warrior cling to life, but he also set a record. He’s now the smallest newborn boy to ever leave the hospital healthy.
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