JAIPUR: Defying the odds of medicine, a newborn baby weighing just 400 grams has survived after her premature birth in Udaipur and gained normalcy after completing a six-month-long clinical course, with her parents and doctors having struggled hard to keep her alive and healthy. The girl was discharged from hospital on Thursday.
Neonatologist Sunil Janged, who led a team of doctors and nursing staff for ensuring the girl's incredible survival, claimed that she was the smallest newborn baby to survive in India and South Asia. The last reported such survival was a baby, Rajni, weighing 450 grams, at Mohali in 2012.
The girl, named Manushi by the nursing staff of Jivanta Children's Hospital, was born to a couple married for 35 years. When her mother’s blood pressure became uncontrollable halfway through her pregnancy and the ultrasonography revealed absence of blood flow to the foetus, a caesarean section was conducted on her on June 15, 2017.
Manushi weighed 400 grams and measured just 8.6 inches when she was born, her minuscule feet being only slightly bigger than a fingernail. She was not breathing when she was born, but the couple decided to fight to keep her alive.
“To salvage a baby of this size was a challenging task. There is no reported survival of a newborn weighing this small in the Indian sub-continent,” said Dr. Janged. As she was struggling to breathe, she was shifted to the neontal intensive care unit (NICU) and put on ventilator to expand her tiny and immature lungs.
The initial days were difficult as Manushi's birth weight dropped. Paediatricians attending on her started with parenteral nutrition, giving all essential nutrients directly into blood circulation. She was able to digest milk by the seventh week of her life and was able to drink from spoon after about four months.
The small baby required respiratory support on and off as she used to hold breath during sleep. “The biggest challenge for our team was to prevent any infection to her and our team managed it very well. She required multiple blood transfusions during her NICU stay,” said Dr. Janged.
There were many difficult days and many tears, but the infant clearly wanted to survive. In all, she was in the NICU for 210 days and she weighed close to 2,400 grams on her discharge from the hospital on Thursday.
Manushi's brain is structurally normal and her eyes are also developing normally. Babies this small have less than 0.5% chance of survival without brain damage because they have extremely poor function of all body organs, according to the medical experts.
In the desert State of Rajasthan where the skewed sex ratio is a reflection on the way a girl’s birth is received, Manushi's survival is a saga of grit, determination and struggle of her parents and doctors who saved the infant’s life and turned the tide against negligible chances of her survival.