November 17, 2021

Baby Breaks Record as Most Premature Baby to Survive Birth

Curtis Zy-Keith Means on the day he was born
Curtis Zy-Keith Means, who was born in July 2020, was recently recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most premature baby ever to survive birth. Curtis was prematurely born at the gestational age of 21 weeks and one day, but he survived the ordeal with the help of medical care.

Michelle Butler, who was carrying twins, unexpectedly went into premature labor one day. She was rushed into emergency surgery at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama on July 4. When they were born, Curtis and his sister C'Asya had only been developing in their mother's womb for 21 weeks and one day. That is one day fewer than the youngest surviving preemie.

Unfortunately, Curtis's sister did not survive. However, this is not for lack of effort from doctors, who attempted to provide her babies with care. In cases of extreme premature birth, doctors often don't attempt to provide potentially lifesaving care to babies. As attending physician Dr. Brian Sims told KATV, “We typically advise for compassionate care in situations of such extremely preterm births. This allows the parents to hold their babies and cherish what little time they may have together.”

Some US hospitals have simply refused to treat preemies at the request of parents, but that was not the case in this situation. When Dr. Sims told Butler that her babies would not survive, Butler asked that the hospital give her babies a chance. They did, and now Curtis has passed his first birthday.

"He started writing his own story the day he was born," Dr. Sims told KATV. "That story will be read and studied by many and, hopefully, will help improve care of premature infants around the world."

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