Abu Dhabi: A baby born in Abu Dhabi at 23 weeks’ gestation, and weighing only 600 grams at delivery, has been sent home in good health after more than five months in hospital.
After two surgical procedures and a 160-day stay at the for Women and Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Baby Adel was in good health and weighed 3.88 kilograms at discharge.
Dr Duaa Al Masri, neonatology consultant who cared for Adel at the hospital, said: “Baby Adel was born by spontaneous vaginal delivery on March 20 at the first day of week 23 of pregnancy, and is one among very rare cases of survival. In fact, survival rates for children born at week 23 of pregnancy is between 10 to 30 per cent, according to international studies, but we held on to hope.”
The baby’s breathing was very faint and his heart was weak, so he was admitted to the NICU right away. “We conducted a series of urgent medical procedures to preserve his life, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He was also placed on a mechanical ventilator and fed with intravenous nutrition.”
Eleven 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 at the beginning of the small intestine to change the pathway of food to the outside of his body. This gave time for the rest of intestine to heal, and at the same time, prepared him 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, the doctor added.
Adel’s condition began to improve gradually after the procedures, to the delight of his parents.
Dr Al Masri said: “He stayed with us for 160 days and was recently allowed to leave the hospital. When he visited us with his family after discharge, we were so happy to see him well and healthy, thanks to Allah. As per our protocols at Danat Al Emarat, preemies are discharged from the NICU after receiving the necessary treatment, only if the child weighs at least 1.8kg, and after completing 35 weeks in terms of weeks of pregnancy.
“We also ensure that the baby is able to breastfeed or drink milk, and that all his vital signs are stable. In terms of how long the baby stays in NICU, it also depends on the health condition of the baby after birth. The earlier the baby is born, the longer the period of his stay in NICU, which can extend from one month to six months in some cases and sometimes longer.”
Baby Adel’s family were delighted to take him home, and mentioned the special bond they had developed with the hospital’s NICU team.
Taqwa Jamal, Adel’s overjoyed mother, said in tears at the time of his discharge, said: “The fact that Adel left the NICU is the biggest gift from Allah. There is nothing that I can say to describe how I feel. We have been waiting for [him at home] for so long; for five months we have been waiting.”
She and her husband Samer Abu Snaineh are first-time parents.
Abu Snaineh said: “We are so happy to be back home with Adel. Seeing my wife hold him is truly the best reward ever. The past period was not easy for us, and we used to visit the NICU several times every day. We were unable to be apart from Adel, and we built a special bond with the NICU team.”
He added: “They were all family to us, and know what parents go through in cases as such. We are thankful to everyone, particularly the medical and nursing team at the NICU, the pediatric surgeons, the physiotherapists, the ophthalmologists, and everyone who cared for our son and drew a smile on our faces. We were extremely lucky to have chosen Danat Al Emarat for his birth and through his stay at the NICU.”
Hospital executives also expressed joy at the Adel’s miraculous progress.
Dr Mohaymen Abdelghany, the hospital’s CEO, said: “The NICU at Danat Al Emarat Hospital is accredited as Level III by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH), and has successfully dealt with more than 130 premature babies born before 27 weeks gestation over the past five year. Today, we are celebrating our youngest preemie, born at 23 weeks. Our clinical outcomes are testament to the advanced services provided at the NICU, the qualifications and expertise of our clinicians, and the technologies embedded in the unit.”
Dr Sridhar Kalyanasundaram, head of neonatology at the hospital, said: “Our survival rates and outcome match any international centre of repute, and our team including our excellent NICU nurses work hard to support the families during the stressful time that they face.”