World’s Tiniest Premature Babies Grow Up Healthy

January 23, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. pediatrics (n.) 
[pee-dee-a-triks, ped-ee-] – a branch of medicine that deals with children and babies
Example: The doctor made pediatrics her focus because she likes taking care of kids.

2. resuscitate  (v.) [ri-suhs-i-teyt] – to save (someone of something) from dying; to bring back the strength of something
Example: Because of their excellent training and skills, the medical team was able to resuscitate the dying patient.

3. complication (n.) [kom-pli-key-shuhn] – in medicine, another sickness or condition caused by a disease
Example:  The disease she has may result to complications such as deafness.

4. credit (v.) [kred-it] – to recognize the help or contribution of someone (or something)
Example: The honor student credits his success to his parents and teachers.

5. insist (v.) [in-sist] – to demand or forcefully ask someone to do for something
Example: He insisted that we eat together, so I agreed to have lunch with him.

Read the text below.

Two of the world’s smallest babies, Rumaisa Rahman and Madeline Mann from the US, are now healthily growing up and attending school, but doctors say success stories like theirs are rare.

Rahman, 7, weighed only 0.26 kg when she was born, while 22-year-old Mann weighed 0.28 kg at birth.

Both babies were resuscitated by Dr. Jonathan Muraskas, a Loyola University Medical Center professor of pediatrics and neonatal and perinatal medicine.
The two girls can be considered lucky, with Rahman being born at 25 weeks and Mann at 26 weeks. If they had been born at 23 weeks or earlier, they would only have had a 20% chance of living. Dr. Muraskas says that complications such as blindness, deafness and cerebral palsy can also be experienced by up to 90% of surviving babies born at 23 weeks. If born just a month later, however, the chances of surviving increase to 90%, with only a 5% chance of acquiring complications.

In Rahman and Mann’s case, both of them have eye problems, while Mann is small for her age.

Dr. Muraskas credits Rahman and Mann’s survival to the length of their gestation periods -- the time they spent developing in their mothers’ wombs. Although they were born tiny, their organs were able to develop longer.

Rahman and Mann’s gender could also have helped them live, as studies show baby girls are more likely to survive than boys. Additionally, their mothers were given steroids so that the babies’ lungs and brains would grow faster.

But despite the miracle of the two girls’ survival, most premature babies are not easily saved. Over half a million premature babies are born in the US each year, and some doctors do not try saving those born at less than 23 weeks, unless parents insist for treatment.

For now, Dr. Muraskas is glad that his patients are doing well, and has shared their progress with the medical community.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think doctors should still save premature babies even at risk of complications? Explain your answer.
·         If you were a doctor and the chance of saving a life is very small, would you still try saving it? Why?

Discussion B

·         Do you believe in miracles? Why or why not?
·         Do you think all events have a scientific explanation to them?


January 23, 2012