According to medical experts, babies born at 24 weeks have only a 66 to 80 per cent chance of survival.

An 'extremely premature' baby weighing only 645g was recently born to Indian parents who were just on a visit in Dubai. The mum was only 24 weeks pregnant then - so the couple were not expecting that the delivery would happen during their trip.

"We came to Dubai as tourists, and not in my wildest dreams did I think my wife would deliver. We would not have travelled if that was the case," Anil Nain told Khaleej Times.

On average, a baby must weigh a minimum of 2.5kg to be considered healthy. Born on April 2 at the Latifa Hospital, the baby was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (Nicu) for nearly five months.

With virtually no money left to settle the hospital bills, Nain could pay only Dh9,000 to cover the treatment charges for his wife, who had to fly home because her visa had already expired.

He spent weeks running from pillar to post to raise money to cover his daughter's mounting bills - which ballooned to nearly Dh450,000.

On top of it all, Nain was not even sure his daughter would make it.

According to medical experts, babies born at 24 weeks have only a 66 to 80 per cent chance of survival.

'My baby is a fighter'

After five long months of waiting and close monitoring, Nain's baby girl miraculously survived and was discharged from the hospital late last week.

"She weighed 2.75kg at discharge. That is a miracle. My baby girl is a fighter," said a relieved Nain earlier this week.

"She fought hard and she won."

The emotional father couldn't thank the hospital enough.

"I am so grateful to Latifa Hospital for saving my wife's and daughter's life. I want to thank them for waiving off all my hospital bills as well. They have given me a new chance at life," he said.

After the baby's discharge, the Consulate-General of India issued an outpass for her so she can go home immediately.

On Monday afternoon, the father and daughter flew back to India, where the mum has been anxiously waiting for her baby for months.

Nain said he will name his baby once he gets home.

How doctors saved the baby

The baby had been admitted at the Latifa Hospital for a total of 156 days, according to Dr Javed Habibullah, the hospital's consultant neonatology who saved the baby's life.

"The baby's birth weight was at 645 grams and she was in a very bad condition. She was bruised all over and had severe respiratory distress. So, the baby was resuscitated and was taken to the Nicu immediately," he explained.

"After all the necessary resuscitation, an endotracheal tube has been placed inside her lungs, assisting her with mechanical ventilation. Other than this, the little one also went through many other complications caused by prematurity," said Dr Habibullah.

After surviving a series of complications, the baby gradually got better.

"She started gaining weight, and we began increasing the feed. She showed very good tolerance to the milk. She showed a mild degree of retinopathy (damage to a part of the eyes), commonly found in preterm babies. However, that was taken care of by a neonatal ophthalmologist. The baby also had some convulsions initially, and it subsided."

Neurologically, she was completely normal and was very active at discharge, said Dr Mahmoud El Halik, the head of Nicu and consultant neonatologist at the Latifa Hospital.

"We had one other case of this nature. There was a baby born at 580g as well and all these have shown a good outcome," he said.

"Last year, we had seven babies below 500g and six of them were discharged in very good condition."

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

Continue Reading

on Khaleej times

Featured