BJU saves preterm in­fants

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - VISTA - The ar­ti­cle is by BJU, and it was pub­lished with con­sent from Alex’s par­ents. Global Times

Alex was born on July 4, 2016 at Bei­jing United Fam­ily Hos­pi­tal & Clin­ics (BJU). Look­ing at his cute rosy cheeks, sparkling eyes and chubby hands and feet, no one would imag­ine that he was born pre­ma­turely at only 23 weeks plus four days.

When Alex was born, he only weighed 600 grams and was very vul­ner­a­ble. Che Ping, one of the nurses in the pe­di­atrics depart­ment at BJU, par­tic­i­pated in Alex’s de­liv­ery.

“His skin was al­most trans­par­ent like jelly,” Che re­called, say­ing that Alex was only as large as an adult’s palm. In ad­di­tion, since he was so pre­ma­ture, he could not open his eyes, and some of his ngers were not sep­a­rated yet.

“His ges­ta­tional age was so young that his re­s­pi­ra­tory sys­tem and lungs were very im­ma­ture, and his face and lips were blue when I took him from the nurse when he was born,” said Yang Ming, di­rec­tor of the depart­ment of pe­di­atrics at BJU.

Yang and his col­leagues im­me­di­ately kept him warm and launched re­sus­ci­ta­tion on the new­born. Af­ter in­tu­ba­tion, the baby be­gan to breathe smoothly. In about three min­utes, his face turned pink. Then he was trans­ferred to Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit (NICU).

“His skin was ex­tremely thin and his belly was al­most trans­par­ent,” Yang said. “I could see his blood ves­sels in the ab­dom­i­nal wall, and the shape of his in­ter­nal or­gans, and his legs were like an adult’s lit­tle nger.”

It took Alex more than 200 days to re­cover. When he left the hos­pi­tal, he was a healthy baby. Alex’s case is not only a new record of pre­ma­ture in­fant res­cue in the hos­pi­tal but also breaks the record among all the non­pub­lic health­care in­sti­tu­tions in China.

In re­cent years, the depart­ment of pe­di­atrics at BJU has re­ceived an in­creas­ing num­ber of preterm in­fants.

From 2014 to 2016, the hos­pi­tal’s NICU re­ceived 102 preterm in­fants, 12 of whom have a ges­ta­tional age be­low 28 weeks.

Alex had the youngest ges­ta­tional age and the low­est weight. In cases like Alex’s, even in Europe where the level of care is rel­a­tively high, the sur­vival rate is only about 9 per­cent.

The depart­ment of pe­di­atrics at BJU, a med­i­cal team with international med­i­cal treat­ment ideas, is not only satis ed with the in­creas­ing sur­vival rate of preterm in­fants, but also do their best to pre­vent com­pli­ca­tions with unique nurs­ing meth­ods, rich med­i­cal re­sources and strong sup­port from other de­part­ments, in­clud­ing oph­thal­mol­ogy, phar­macy, nu­tri­tion, ra­di­ol­ogy, ul­tra­sound and lab.

Yang still re­mem­bers that be­cause Alex’s lungs and brain were ex­tremely pre­ma­ture when he was born, he ex­pe­ri­enced many emer­gency res­cues in NICU. The most dan­ger­ous one was bleed­ing in his lungs when he was two weeks old, and his heart rate once dropped to 50 beats per minute.

Yang said the bleed­ing was be­cause of patent duc­tus ar­te­rio­sus (PDA), a con­gen­i­tal heart dis­ease com­mon among pre­ma­ture in­fants.

Since Alex was so pre­ma­ture, his un­sta­ble blood pres­sure and pul­monary cir­cu­la­tion con­ges­tion both eas­ily lead to bleed­ing in the lungs and brain.

Li Chao­qin, the head nurse in the pe­di­atrics depart­ment at BJU, said that dur­ing her 30 years of prac­tic­ing, she has only seen two other cases like Alex.

“His feet were just like broad beans, and we had to be ex­tremely care­ful when col­lect­ing his blood so as not to dam­age his skin,” Li said.

“In­stead of squeez­ing his feet, we could only gen­tly touch his skin to get the blood.”

Since Alex would fall into dan­ger fre­quently, Li would only sleep a few hours a night, and then she would rush to the NICU to look af­ter Alex.

A few days later, she gave up go­ing home and lived in the NICU to take bet­ter care of him and other pre­ma­ture ba­bies.

Be­sides med­i­cal treat­ment for Alex, the staff also com­mu­ni­cated thor­oughly with Alex’s par­ents.

Yang of­ten had long talks with them, an­swered their ques­tions and helped them pre­pare for Alex’s re­cov­ery.

Alex is his mother’s sec­ond child. Her rst child was pre­ma­ture as well, and was born at 32 weeks. Yang was also the doc­tor when Alex’s mother de­liv­ered her rst child, so she has a lot of trust in his skills.

“She said she 100 per­cent trusts me, and I could do any­thing I thought was right to res­cue Alex,” Yang said. “I was rather moved and told her that we would spare no ef­fort to save Alex’s life.”

Now 8-month-old Alex has been de­vel­op­ing well, and his weight has passed ve kilo­grams. He has reg­u­lar check­ups in the hos­pi­tal and the most re­cent re­sults show that ev­ery growth in­dex is nor­mal.

The boy was saved from life-threat­en­ing dan­ger with the help at BJU. In the fu­ture, he will grow into a healthy and strong per­son. No mat­ter where he goes, he will bene t from the love and care paid by BJU.

Photo: Cour­tesy of BJU

Re­cov­ered and healthy baby Alex and his doc­tors

Photo: Cour­tesy of BJU

The hand-writ­ten let­ter from Alex’s par­ents to ex­press their thank­ful­ness to Bei­jing United Fam­ily Hos­pi­tal & Clin­ics.

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