A severely premature baby became one of the smallest preemies to survive in the UK - all thanks to a pair of scissors left on the weighing scale.
In a heartwarming story carried by The Daily Mail that could make any cynic believe in miracles, a tiny premature baby born at 23 weeks was given a chance at survival thanks to a pair of scissors.
A small miracle
The little baby, christened Maddalena, is one of the smallest premature babies ever to survive in the UK. She was given a fighting chance only when doctors did their best to save her after she met the minimum weight requirements of one pound. Unbeknown to them, she was only 382 grams at birth and was given that bump up in weight by a pair of scissors accidentally left on the weighing scales.
The happy miracle only came to light after doctors had safely put her on a ventilator.
To save or not?
Born at just 23 weeks, doctors were unsure whether she would survive, or whether they should try and save her.
The dilemma presented itself as current ethical guidelines in the UK on the care of very premature infants do not suggest providing active care for babies born at 22 weeks six days and earlier.
However at 24 weeks, premature babies are deemed to have a fighting chance at survival and will go into neonatal intensive care units to be observed and cared for.
Babies born around the 24 week mark struggle to survive because their lungs and other vital organs have not developed enough and many are unable to breathe on their own. They are also more susceptible to severe respiratory problems such as respiratory distress syndrome and apnea of prematurity.
Maddalena is now six-months-old and weighs a healthier two and a half kilograms. Though still relatively tiny, she has been discharged from the Royal Sussex Hospital and is expected to grow into a healthy child.
Maddalena’s mother Kate, 31, of Lewes, East Sussex was glad that her miracle daughter was able to come home in time for Christmas and says, “We never thought we’d ever bring Maddalena home.”
According to the Daily Mail report, research done by Medical Research Council (MRC) in December, found that the survival rate of premature babies born at 24 weeks is higher than previously recorded however, babies delivered earlier rarely live.
They also found that babies born at 22-25 weeks also known as micro preemies, who do survive, also experience serious health complications into their childhood and even future adulthood.
Some of these include cerebral palsy – a condition that affects movement and coordination. Almost three in 10 micro preemies develop the condition in their lifetime and it ranges from mild to severe. Severe cases could include mental impairment along with physical disability.
Learn more about premature births and neonatal care in Singapore here.