UAE: Emirati miracle baby weighing 560 grams wins 3-year battle for survival

He is now ready to embrace life as a typical three-year-old, free from medical devices and filled with boundless mischief


Ashwani Kumar

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Wed 20 Sep 2023, 2:57 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Sep 2023, 3:37 PM

Baby Khalifa, born at a mere 23 weeks of gestation and weighing only 560 grams, has defied all odds to survive in a fight for his life lasting more than three years.

The brave baby was born to Emirati parents on August 1, 2020, at the NMC Royal Hospital (NMCRH) in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa City. Entering the world as an extremely preterm baby, what followed was his courageous battle ably supported by his parents, siblings, and a caring team of medical experts – all of whom never gave up in the face of adversity, including health issues faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Khalifa's fragile start in life necessitated immediate intervention. He spent his early months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at NMCRH, relying on mechanical ventilation and other life-supporting measures. In December 2020, he underwent a tracheostomy due to severe tracheal narrowing caused by prolonged intubation,” said Dr Lathika Jayaram, anaesthesiology specialist, at NMC ProVita. After five months of intensive care, the miracle baby’s resilience shone through, and he was transferred to NMC ProVita’s long-term care unit on February 24, 2021.

“Over the past two years, this once-fragile infant blossomed into a healthy, active, and endearing toddler. His journey to recovery was not without setbacks, including a battle with Covid-19 in early 2022,” Dr Lathika recollected.

Muath Khalifa Mubarak, a doting father, noted the struggles faced by his baby, which ended with a procedure performed last month.

“Throughout his ordeal, Khalifa’s siblings, have been frequent visitors, and he has made cherished trips home to be with his family. However, he still had to undertake a corrective procedure to address his narrowed airway, a step that allowed the removal of his breathing tube, bringing him one step closer to reuniting with his loved ones.”

The procedure was done successfully on August 11 at a leading government hospital in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Hesham Haded, a specialist physician, said: “Khalifa's remarkable recovery can be attributed to our multidisciplinary team, including physicians, paediatric nurses, specialised therapists, and a child educator. He is an extremely social and lovable boy with boundless energy, fluent in three languages, and has a special fondness for reading menus.”

Road to normalcy

Khalifa’s journey took a significant step towards normalcy when he was assessed by an ENT surgeon and the tracheostomy tube was successfully removed. He is now ready to embrace life as a typical three-year-old, free from medical devices and filled with boundless mischief.

Mubarak added: “My brave son’s story is a testament to the power of dedication, love, and God’s grace. He has not only survived against all odds but has thrived, thanks to the unwavering care provided by the team at NMC ProVita's long-term care unit over the past three years.”

Khalifa now embarks on a new chapter of his life while serving as an inspiration to all and reminding community members that courage and resilience can overcome the greatest of adversities.


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