A baby boy, born after just 23 weeks in the womb, is fighting for his life at the Holy Family Hospital in Bandra. The baby, whose twin died a day after the delivery on December 23, was stable for two weeks but had to be put on oxygen again on Thursday.
With advancement in neo-natal intensive care, more premature babies are surviving than in the past. But such cases are still rare. Parents, Amar and Sarita Patil, are praying that they can take their son home soon.
Sarita, a 30-year-old social worker, had a normal pregnancy till the fourth month when the gynaecologist at a Kandivli nursing home found that the babies were placed too low in the uterus. They stitched the mouth of the uterus.
On December 22, Sarita started experiencing severe pain and the doctor had to induce delivery the next day.
While the baby, which died weighed 850 gm, the surviving boy weighed 905 gm at birth. A normal healthy child should weigh at least 2.5 kg at birth. The doctors had put the weaker baby on ventilator but it died. “There was only one free ventilator at the nursing home so we started contacting hospitals. After seven hours we found an unoccupied ventilator at Holy Family Hospital,” said Sarita.
The baby had been weaned off the ventilator after a week, but he started throwing up and had to be put on oxygen on Thursday. “He is not out of danger yet,” said neo-natologist Dr Chetan Shetty.
Tests have ruled out brain haemorrhage. “Like all premature babies, he was also unable to breathe due to immature lungs,” said Dr Shetty. Gynaecologist Dr Duru Shah said 25 per cent of premature babies and with low birth weight grow up to have some disability.
Independent doctors said there have been cases of babies, born after just 22 to 23 weeks of pregnancy, surviving over the past decade. “Such cases are rare but with improvement in medical care more premature babies are surviving,” said Dr Rekha Daver, head, gynaecology department at JJ Hospital.