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520g baby born with unformed lungs survives in UAE

Saman Haziq
Filed on November 19, 2019 | Last updated on November 19, 2019 at 04.41 pm
520g, baby, born, unformed lungs, survives, UAE, blood pressure,
Elijah had to be kept at the neonatal intensive care unit for about three months.-Supplied photo

He's the second child of a Filipino-Ghanan couple, who had lost a child just a couple of years ago.

A baby in Ajman who was born at 28 weeks - weighing only 520g and without fully developed lungs at the time - fought for his life for months in intensive care. He survived and, his parents said, it was a miracle.

Little Elijah Oman was just one-sixth the size of a normal baby when he was born, said Dr Fozi Abozaid Dakilah, consultant and medical director for paediatrics and neonatology at Thumbay Hospital Ajman.

He's the second child of a Filipino-Ghanan couple, who had lost a child just a couple of years ago as the mother, Emily Bacang, had blood pressure issues.

They were extra careful when Elijah was conceived, but when they came for a check-up during Emily's seventh month of pregnancy, they were told that the baby was not growing.

"We were at once advised to get a C-section done. Doctors told us that the chances of survival in this case would be 50-50 because, again, my wife's blood pressure was fluctuating. The baby was very tiny and we were praying to God that he survives," said the father, Amos Kabutey Oman, a Ghana national.

Elijah had to be kept at the neonatal intensive care unit for about three months. He suffered from feed intolerance and needed ventilator support because his lungs were not yet formed.

"He was very tiny and we had to put him in an incubator at once as he could not breathe on his own. Since there were a lot of complications at this stage - he could not swallow, feed or maintain his body temperature - we had a tough time ensuring that the baby did not succumb to infections, considering his low immunity levels," Dr Fozi said.

The baby was given all the nutrition he needed, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fat, minerals and vitamins through drips. He also had nutritional supplements for a couple of months before his condition finally stabilised.

"Until the baby reaches 33-35 weeks, we fed him through a tube and gradually introduced him to either his mum's milk or formula milk," Dr Fozi said.

After months of special care, baby Elijah was discharged.

"He is now 1.8kg, which means more than three times his birth weight. Proper ventilation, appropriate nursing care, and 24/7 monitoring helped in the management of such babies," said Dr Fozi.

Elijah's parents broke down as soon as they received the news that their baby was ready to go home.

"It was an emotional moment to see the parents take their baby home as they never thought he would survive. Both of them broke down and thanked the hospital team for giving them a gift of a lifetime," the doctor said.

saman@khaleejtimes.com

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