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  Monday, June 24, 2019
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A premature baby believed to be the smallest infant to survive was "a great blessing"
A premature baby believed to be the smallest infant to survive was "a great blessing", her mother said yesterday as she prepared to take the little girl and her twin sister home from hospital. The baby, named Rumaisa, weighed 244g and was the size of a mobile phone when she was delivered 14 weeks early by caesarean section at Chicago's Loyola University Medical Centre on September 19. That is 37g smaller than the previous record-holder, Madeline Mann, who was born at the same hospital in 1989. Madeline is now a healthy 15-year-old. Rumaisa, her twin Hiba and their Indian-born parents made their first public appearance yesterday at a news conference at the hospital. The girls were bundled in identical striped blankets, reports The Australian. According to the Nature.com, doctors ordered the early delivery because the babies' mother Mahajabeen Shaik, originally from Hyderabad and now living in Chicago, was suffering from pre-eclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure. Without intervention, both the mother and babies' health would have been in danger. The twins' good health is remarkable considering that were born after just 25 weeks and 6 days in the womb, instead of the usual 38 weeks, says Jonathan Muraskas, who helped at the birth. "Both babies came out pink with their eyes open, looking straight at us," he told. Twenty-five weeks is pretty close to the limit at which a baby can be born and still have a chance of making it, Muraskas says. "The public tends to be fascinated with birth weight, but it's how long they're in the oven that's important," he says. Creating the record has not come cheap. Loyola's neonatal intensive care unit costs $5,000 a day and the overall bill for the twins could be in the range of $500,000 (Rs 2.25 crore). But Medicaid is taking care of the bill, a hospital spokesman has been quoted as saying. Shaik, who became a US citizen after moving from India in 1996, wants the twins to become doctors so that they can serve others. Husband Rahman simply said: "We want them to be good human beings, good citizens", informs Hindustan Times.
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