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Scientific advances in treating babies with medical conditions demanding surgery are growing more and more impressive.
A case in point is a premature baby born in India at 28 weeks. Typically, at that stage, a baby weighs about two pounds but this one weighed in at only one pound.
Dr. John Pierce, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Liberty University, explains what had to be done to help the baby with its difficulty in breathing.
“When a baby's born that way, it poses many problems in prematurity,” Pierce says, “but this baby was born with what we call patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and needed surgery to help the baby survive.”PDA is a congenital heart defect.
At one pound, the baby would fit in the palm of one’s hand. Surgeons used specialized miniature equipment for the delicate but successful surgery.
Premature babies as early as 23 weeks are living and Pierce is amazed at what modern medicine can do at those earlier stages of life.
“Obviously the ability of babies to survive at younger ages has come down over the last 5, 10, 20 years,” he says. “That is remarkable to see and gives us great encouragement because the outcomes, even though they can be very difficult, are getting better and better when babies are born prematurely.”Some states ban abortions at 20 weeks, however, and Dr. Pierce says it's hard to understand saving babies at earlier stages on one side of the hospital while ones about the same size are being aborted across the hall.
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