A baby, which is said to be the world’s smallest at birth, was finally sent home after 13 months of severe hospitalisation. Kwek Yu Xuan weighed just 212 grams – around the weight of a large apple, when she was born on June 9 last year. She measured just 24 cm.
Xuan was born premature at 25 weeks as her mother was diagnosed with preeclampsia. Xuan was delivered via an emergency C-section at Singapore National Hospital. The condition, which can be fatal for both the mother and child, results in dangerously high blood pressure that can damage vital organs.
When Xuan was wheeled into the neonatal intensive care unit, the nurse on duty could not believe her eyes. “I was shocked so I spoke to the professor (in the same department) and asked if he could believe it,” said Zhang Suhe, the NUH nurse, to ‘The Strait Times’. “In my 22 years of being a nurse, I haven’t seen such a small newborn baby,” she added.
More than a year after she was admitted to an intensive care unit, Xuan now weighs a healthy 6.3 kilograms. The Singapore National Hospital said she “is likely the world’s lightest baby to have survived a premature birth”.
The hospital also shared the incident on their social media platforms:
Treating the premature baby proved to be challenging for the doctors. Her skin was so fragile that doctors could not put probes on her, her body so small that doctors had to look for the smallest breathing tube and her caretakers had to cut diapers so they could fit her. She also required medicine that had to be calculated to decimal points. However, Xuan fought against all odds to survive.
Doctors said that the baby “has inspired people around her with her perseverance and growth, which make her an extraordinary “Covid-19” baby – a ray of hope amid turmoil,” the hospital said in a statement.
Her treatment costs were funded by a crowdfunding campaign. While Xuan still suffers from chronic lung disease, doctors expect her to get better slowly.
According to the Tiniest Babies Registry by the University of Iowa, the previous record for the world’s smallest baby was held by a girl born in the USA in 2018, who weighed just about 245 grams.