BJU saves preterm infants
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.
Recovered and healthy baby Alex and his doctors
The hand-written letter from Alex’s parents to express their thankfulness to Beijing United Family Hospital & Clinics.