back from the brink: When Enes was born he was as small as a palm, but today he weighs a healthy 2.8kg Image Credit: Francois Nel/XPRESS

DUBAI: A premature baby born at just 570 grams with a head as small as a plum has miraculously survived after battling it out for four months at a private hospital in Dubai.

“He is a true fighter,” said Dr Mudit Kumar, Specialist Neonatologist at the Welcare Hospital, hours before the Turkish boy, a bonny 2.8kg now, was discharged last Friday. “He arrived at barely six months and is among only 10-20 per cent of such pre-term babies to survive worldwide.”

“We’ve named him Enes Toprak Yazici,” said the boy’s proud parents Esra and Hakan Yazici as they held up their first child. “In Arabic, Enes means one who helps the world and Toprak is a thanksgiving to the earth.”

It’s a name Hakan, a TV director, came up with in 30 minutes. Though he and Esra had zeroed in on some names earlier, they had not made a final decision as the baby’s scheduled arrival was still three months away. But when Esra ruptured her membrane at around 23 weeks, she had to be rushed to hospital. And when she unexpectedly delivered, it was left to Hakan to hurriedly name the child for hospital records.

“We had not even started shopping for the delivery because there was still so much time,” he recalled.

Clearly, Enes had taken everyone, including the doctors, by surprise. In fact, another private hospital which Esra was consulting during her pregnancy, refused to take her in for delivery as it was very premature. She then landed in Welcare Hospital.

The day enes arrived

Dr Kumar vividly remembers the day Enes arrived. “His frame was tiny and his eyes remained shut. His skin was so thin and transparent that you could clearly see the blood vessels inside. A scan showed that his brain was not fully formed as yet. It was still smooth unlike the brain of a full-term baby which has curvatures and foldings. But my first thought was that the child was breathing. He needed all the help we could give him,” said the doctor, even as he told the parents in plainspeak that the chances of survival were low.

Enes had chronic lung disease and the doctors had to resuscitate him. But putting a tube into his body was a challenge because it was so small.

When it was finally done, Dr Kumar said Hakan gave him a big hug. “He was so overjoyed, but I became more anxious as I was still not sure of the outcome. The baby’s lung was so immature that he was completely dependent on the artificial breathing machine for about a month. We made three failed attempts to take him off the machine. Eventually, we managed to put him on a special machine called Vapotherm, which I had experience of using in the UK and specially hired it for him.”

The doctor said Enes’ was a case of extreme prematurity and babies usually born at that gestation do not survive. And many of those who do end up with disabilities.

But thankfully, Enes, three months old now, has shown no signs of disability. “We will be regularly monitoring him but I don’t expect any major problems,” said Dr Kumar.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve cried in the past few months. At the same time, I had to keep up the family’s morale. He was in good hands. Our prayers kept us going and we never lost hope. I can only call this a miracle,” said Hakan. Enes’ treatment cost Dh700,000, he said but added that it was fully covered by insurance. “I am so thankful to God.”