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Premature baby recovers after intensive care

By Tan Yingzi and Deng Rui in Chongqing | China Daily | Updated: 2024-07-10 09:09
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A baby boy born prematurely at just 26 weeks and weighing only 870 grams has defied the odds after a grueling 80-day battle for survival at the Southwest Hospital of Army Medical University in Chongqing.

Nicknamed "Xiaotuanzi" or "little rice ball", the infant faced a multitude of life-threatening conditions, including respiratory distress, pneumonia, anemia and acute kidney failure.

"Due to his premature development, his organs were extremely fragile," said Chen Sheng, director of the hospital's pediatrics department. "Acute kidney failure, with an 80 percent mortality rate for such premature babies, presented a major hurdle."

To minimize harm, the medical team opted for a special dialysis approach using a closed chest drainage tube due to Xiaotuanzi's thin abdominal wall. The innovative solution, coupled with meticulous care, stabilized his kidney function within 72 hours.

Further challenges arose in late May when worsening retinopathy threatened his vision. A collaborative effort by the hospital's ophthalmology and anesthesiology departments preserved his eyesight through surgery.

"The key to Xiaotuanzi's recovery was not just precise treatment, but also the unwavering 24-hour care provided by our experienced medical team," Chen said.

That care addressed issues like infection control, breathing difficulties and feeding problems.

After 80 days of treatment, Xiaotuanzi's health turned a corner. His weight grew to a healthy 2.5 kilograms by the time he was discharged on June 25.

In 2018, the hospital discharged a baby who had been born at just 24 weeks and weighing 585 grams.

"While treatment protocols are similar nationwide, meticulous nursing care and collaboration between various departments are paramount in such critical cases," Chen said. "Long-term follow-up is also essential to ensure these babies' continued development and well-being."


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