A boy from Alabama, who was born after 21 weeks, has set a world record as the most premature baby to survive.
Guinness World Records and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) announced on 10 November that Curtis Means weighed 14.8 ounces (419.5g) at birth and has set a new world record.
He was born 132 days premature on 5 July 2020, with a twin who didn’t survive. Curtis is now healthy and 16 months old.
Dr Brian Sims, who was at the birth, said statistics show a baby born so young has virtually no chance of survival but Curtis beat the odds.
“We typically advise for compassionate care in situations of such extremely preterm births,” Dr Sims said in a statement
“This allows the parents to hold their babies and cherish what little time they may have together.”
After Curtis grew stronger, he was discharged after 275 days in the hospital but did need help from therapists to begin using his mouth and eating.
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“Being able to finally take Curtis home and surprise my older children with their younger brother is a moment I will always remember,” his mother, Michelle Butler, from rural Eutaw, Alabama, said.
“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.”
A foetus is considered full term at 40 weeks but Ms Butler went into labour with twins in half that time.
She was referred to UAB Hospital’s regional neonatal intensive care unit, where she gave birth to Curtis and C’Asya.
C’Asya died the next day but Curtis was taken off the ventilator after three months and received round-the-clock care until he was discharged in April.
Curtis requires a feeding tube and supplemental oxygen but Dr Sims said he is in good health.
“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.”
The Guinness Book of World Records said Curtis beat the previous record by a day, which was set just a month before when Richard Hutchinson, from Wisconsin, was born after 21 weeks and 2 days.