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December 11, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Doctors fight to save life of China's tiniest baby

DOCTORS from the Children's Hospital of Fudan University are fighting to save the life of a baby girl born more than four months premature.

Her twin brother died the day after the birth but his 413-gram sister survived the critical 72-hour period after delivery.

The girl, who was born on Sunday, is just 26 centimeters in height and, at 413 grams, was the country's lightest newborn baby.

Doctors say she faces many obstacles before she is out of danger.

"The whole recovery procedure should take at least three months," said Luo Weifen, a hospital official, yesterday. "Her organs aren't well developed. No one is fully confident of her survival and recovery. We have to make improvements day by day."

The twins' mother, a Shanghai woman, gave birth at 23 weeks and four days at the Shanghai International Peace Maternity and Child Health Hospital. Just five hours after delivery the twins were rushed to the children's hospital where a special team of experienced doctors and nurses was set up to care for them around the clock. But despite their efforts, the little boy died.

The little girl has been given an environment with temperature, humidity and light similar to her mother's womb. "That's why a special eyepatch covers her eyes," Luo said.

Because of her tiny blood vessels, staff used the smallest needles available to give her nutritional support and nurses used extremely accurate measuring devices to ensure the correct dosage of medication.

"It is such a big medical challenge to all our staff," Luo said.

The world's lightest newborn to have survived was a girl born weighing just 244 grams. She was the little sister of premature twin girls born in 2004 in Chicago. Both girls survived.

Normally, a healthy infant is born 37 weeks into the pregnancy and weighs more than 2,500 grams at birth.


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