A baby born at 22 weeks has been sent from hospital, believed to be the youngest premature baby ever to survive in Israel.
The baby boy, named Aharon, was born after 22 weeks in Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital. In the UK the accepted age of viability is 24 weeks, and Aharon’s doctors have said that his survival may have been the result of a miscalculation on their part, leading them to believe he was older than he was.
When he was born in April, doctors believed he was 23 weeks old. “The doctors here were honest; they came and told me straight to my face,” the baby’s father, Eli Haba, told Channel 2 news. “They told me that he had a 20 percent chance of survival. And even if was one of the 20 per cent and did survive, there was a 90 per cent chance he would have disabilities.”
Aharon’s doctor, Professor Dror Mandel, director of the Department of Neonatology in Ichilov’s Sourasky Medical Center, told Channel 2: “It may be that if we had not been ‘mistaken,’ thinking that he was a week older, he would not be alive today.
“In medicine you also need luck sometimes, just like everything in life.”
The odds for a baby born at 22 weeks are effectively zero, and Israeli hospital policy is not to intensively treat babies born at 22 weeks or earlier.
Although baby Aharon was released from hospital today his future development will be monitored closely.
A study published last year in The New England Journal Of Medicine found that 22-week-old babies were not able to survive without medical intervention. The study looked at 78 cases when the babies were treated; 18 survived, but only seven of them without moderate to severe disabilities.