A baby born at 21 weeks in Alabama last year has set a world record for the most premature baby to survive.
As Live Science reported, Curtis Means and his twin sister C’Asya Means were born at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) hospital on July 5, 2020. According to UAB, the twins had a less than 1% chance of survival when they were born at 21 weeks and 1 day gestational age.
According to Guinness World Records, they were born 19 weeks or 132 days early. Curtis Means weighed 14.8 ounces (419.5g) at birth, about one-seventh the weight of a full-term baby while his twin sister C’Asya died the day after she was born because she did not respond to treatment. Curtis is now 16 months old and in good health.
Dr. Brian Sims, a professor of pediatrics at the UAB, who was the on-call physician when the twins’ mother arrived at the hospital, said in a statement that “numbers show that babies born so young have little to no chances of survival,” but Curtis defied the odds.
“We have never been able to bring a baby that young to the neonatal intensive care unit, so [Curtis] was literally the first of his kind,” Sims told Guinness World Records. “We were in uncharted territory.”
Curtis was discharged after 275 days in the hospital, but he needed help to learn to use his mouth and eat.
“It was a difficult journey, but I am grateful for the UAB team and their constant support. They took the time to educate me and made sure I knew what was happening every step of the way. They truly cared about my son and me,” his mother, Michelle Butler said, as News Sky reported.
Curtis has a feeding tube and supplemental oxygen, but he is now in good health, per Dr. Sims.
“We do not know what all the future will hold for Curtis since there is no one else like him,” Dr Sims said.
“He started writing his own story the day he was born. That story will be read and studied by many and, hopefully, will help improve care of premature infants around the world.”
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Curtis beat the previous record which was achieved just a month before when Wisconsin’s Richard Hutchinson was delivered after 21 weeks and 2 days, on June 5, 2020.