The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is a division of the National Institutes of Health. There is a tool on the NICHD website that doctors sometimes use to help calculate a premature baby’s chances of survival.
“The tool helps us when we are counseling parents,” said Julia Mizener, MD, a neonatal physician at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
Abhijeet Deora was born on March 18, at only 23 week’s gestation. (A baby is considered full term if they are born between 39 and 40 weeks gestation.) He weighed 1.4 pounds. He was immediately rushed to Henry Mayo’s Kim and Steven Ullman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“When we know a baby is going to be born prematurely, we normally give magnesium and steroids to the mother,” said Dr. Mizener. “These help protect the baby’s brain. But Abhijeet was born very quickly and unexpectedly, so we didn’t have time to do that.”
According to the NICHD tool, Abhijeet’s chances of survival were 17%.
“In a case like this, the first 72 hours are critical,” said Dr. Mizener. “In that time we know if a baby is going to make it.”
Abhijeet’s father Rahul Deora remembers those first hours this way: “There were 12 people working on him at once!”
Overcoming the long odds against him, Abhijeet made it, and then some. “On day one he held my finger,” Deora said. “We (Deora and his wife Nandini)) thought to ourselves, ‘If he’s fighting, why can’t we?’
“He’s done remarkably well, better than anyone could have expected,” said Dr. Mizener.
Abhijeet's case is extremely rewarding for our care team here,” said Lori Matzner Henry Mayo’s Director of Maternal and Child Health Services. “It’s why we do what we do.”
On July 30, he went home, where his 14-year-old sister was able to meet him in person for the first time.
Said Rahul and Nandini, “We are so grateful to the staff here!”