Saved by a pair of scissors left on the scales: The premature baby doctors decided to save because she weighed just enough
Maddalena Douse, from Lewes, East Sussex, was born at just 23 weeksDoctors were unsure whether she would survive, or whether they should try and save her When they weighed her, she was 1lb, the minimum weight for a baby to be considered viableAfter fighting to save her they discovered she had only weighed 382g, and a pair of scissors accidentally left on the scales had bumped up her weight
22:17 GMT, 17 December 2012
Any baby that survives a premature birth is considered by their parents to be a miracle. But for Kate and Renato Douse, their daughter is extra special.
For little Maddalena is one of the smallest premature babies ever to survive in the UK – and it's all thanks to a pair of scissors.
Born at just 23 weeks, doctors were unsure whether she would survive, or whether they should try and save her.
Had it not been for a pair of scissors on the scales – bumping up her weight – doctors would not have fought to save the life of premature Maddalena Douse, with parents Kate and Renato
Current ethical guidelines in the UK on the care
of very premature infants do not suggest providing active care for
babies born at 22 weeks six days and earlier.
But when they put her on the scales she
weighed 1lb, the minimum weight for a baby to be considered viable, so they fought to keep her alive.
It was only when she was safely on a ventilator
that doctors discovered a pair of scissors had been accidentally left on the
scales and that Maddalena actually only weighed 382g.
Born at just 23 weeks, doctors were unsure whether Maddalena would survive, or whether they should try and save her
Now six months old, she has been discharged from the Royal Sussex Hospital and is expected to
grow into a healthy child.
Very premature babies born around 24 weeks go to neonatal intensive care units, although their parents often opt for withdrawal of care at some point when the medical outlook for the child worsens.
Babies born before this time struggle because their lungs and other vital organs are not developed enough.
It was only when she was safely on a ventilator that doctors discovered Maddalena had actually only weighed 382g. Guidelines state a baby must be 1lb to be considered viable
Maddalena's mother Kate, 31, of Lewes, East Sussex, told The Sun: 'We never thought we’d ever bring Maddalena home.
now weighs 5lbs and is getting stronger by the day. She’s our little
miracle and we’re so glad to have her home in time for Christmas.'
She and her husband Renato, a plumber, had already suffered heartache when Maddalena’s twin Isabella died a few weeks after the sisters were born.
Now six months old, Maddalena has been discharged from the Royal Sussex Hospital and is expected to grow into a healthy child
Earlier this month, research Medical Research Council (MRC) found that more premature babies born when their
mothers are just 24 weeks pregnant are surviving – but babies delivered
earlier rarely live.
Their research appeared to find a cut-off point in terms of chances of survival at 24 weeks –
the current legal limit for abortion.
But they found no improvement in the proportion of babies born 22-25 weeks who experience serious health problems into childhood
The figures suggest that while rising numbers of babies born very early are being helped to survive, the number of children and adults with long-term disability as a result will also increase.