CHICAGO, IL - One is a healthy first-grader, the other an honors college student majoring in psychology. Once the tiniest
babies ever born, both girls are thriving, despite long odds when they entered the world weighing less than a pound.
A medical report from the doctor who resuscitated the infants at a suburban Chicago hospital is both a success story and a cautionary tale. These two are the exceptions and their remarkable health years later should not raise false hope: Most babies this small do poorly and many do not survive even with advanced medical care.
"These are such extreme cases," said Dr. Jonathan Muraskas of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. They should not be considered "a benchmark" to mean that doctors should try to save all babies so small, he said.
The report involves Madeline Mann, born in 1989 weighing 9.9 ounces, then the world record; and 7-year-old Rumaisa Rahman, whose 9.2-ounce birth weight remains the world's tiniest. Rumaisa's birth weight was initially reported as several ounces less, but that figure was based on a different conversion scale.
Two other babies born since 1989 weighed less than Madeline, and a German girl was born last year at her same birth weight.