UAE: Baby born at 23 weeks survives after 160 days in ICU

Eleven days after his birth, Adel needed surgery because there was a hole in his small intestine.

Doctors in Abu Dhabi have been able to save the life of a baby born at 23 weeks of pregnancy.

At birth, the newborn weighed only 600g and was in the neonatal intensive care unit (Nicu) for more than five months, 160 days to be precise.

The brave baby boy Adel underwent two surgical procedures and, at the time of his discharge from Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women and Children, he weighed a healthy 3.88kg.

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His proud Jordanian parents are overcome with emotions. Tears rolled down as Taqwa Jamal, Adel’s mother, talked about the days her baby spent in the Nicu.

“The fact that Adel left the Nicu now is the biggest gift from Allah. There’s nothing that can describe how I feel now. Thanks to Allah, we reached this stage. We were waiting for him for such a long time. I waited for five months, and every day that passed was very difficult for me.”

Taqwa said she and her baby made a pact, which little Adel didn’t break.

“We promised each other the first day that we will leave the Nicu together. He promised me and we did it together, we did it.”

Dr Duaa Al Masri, neonatology consultant and one of the neonatologists who provided care for Adel, said: “Adel was born by spontaneous vaginal delivery on March 20 at the first day of week 23 of pregnancy, and it is one of the very rare cases. The survival rates for children born at week 23 is between 10 and 30 per cent, according to international studies, but we held on to hope.”

In the Nicu, a series of medical procedures were done, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

“He was placed on a mechanical ventilator and fed with intravenous nutrition. And 11 days after his birth, Adel needed surgical intervention because there was a hole in his small intestine, and his condition wasn’t improving despite treatment with antibiotics and some other medicines. A surgery was performed to remove parts of the damaged intestine, and also to create an opening…to change the path of food to the outside. This was done to give the intestine time to heal and, at the same time, prepare Adel for the second corrective surgery.”

Two months later, the paediatric surgical team performed the second surgery to close the hole and correct the position of the intestines.

“We work very closely with different subspecialties to provide our babies with complete care. This includes our paediatric surgeons who specialise in neonatal surgeries.”

Dr Al Masri noted that Adel’s condition began to gradually improve.

“He stayed with us for 160 days and was recently allowed to leave the hospital. He visited us with his family a few days ago. We were so happy to see him well and healthy, thanks to Allah.”

Dr Mohaymen Abdelghany, hospital CEO, praised the relentless efforts of doctors and nurses.

“The Nicu at Danat Al Emarat Hospital has successfully dealt with more than 130 premature babies that were born before completing 27 weeks of gestation only in the past five years and today, we are celebrating the youngest preemie who was born at 23 weeks.”

Dr Sadoon Sami Sadoon, chief medical officer and obstetrics and gynaecology consultant, noted the case of baby Adel is another milestone for the hospital’s achievements.

Dr Sridhar Kalyanasundaram, head of neonatology, said: “Studies show that nearly 8-10% of all deliveries happen before 37 weeks of pregnancy (premature) and around 1.5-2% of deliveries happen before 29 weeks (very preterm), which is why our hospital has an excellent level III NICU dedicated to managing these preterm babies.”

Samer Abu Snaineh, Adel’s father, expressed his gratitude to the hospital.

“We are so happy to be back home with Adel. Seeing my wife hold him is truly the best reward ever. The past period wasn’t easy on us both. We used to visit the Nicu on a daily basis. We were unable to be apart from Adel, and we built a special bond with the Nicu team. They all were family to us.”

author

Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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