World

Baby boy born at 21 weeks named most premature infant to ever survive

Guinness World Records has named a new record-holder for the most premature infant to survive.

Sixteen-month-old Curtis Means and his twin C’Asya were born at 21 weeks and weighed under a pound each. They were given a one percent chance to survive. C’Asya didn’t make it past two days. Curtis, however, set a new record by weighing 14.8 ounces at birth and surviving.

Curtis, affectionately known as “Poodie” by his family, spent 275 days in the hospital before going home. He spent the first three months of his life on a ventilator and is now “very active”. Curtis celebrated his one year birthday in July and Guinness World Records made the record official this week.

Curtis’ mom, Michelle Butler, recalls praying that her twins would survive. “My prayers have been answered,” she said on Good Morning America. “I gave God my little girl and he let me continue to be the mother to Curtis.”

She said that she wasn’t able to hold Curtis until four weeks after his birth due to his fragility. Butler drove to the hospital three to four times each week during his nine months in the RNICU, which entailed a three-hour round trip for her. She also has two older children, neither of whom were allowed to meet him until he went home in April due to Covid-19 restrictions. Curtis now weighs 19 pounds.

The neonatologist who oversaw Curtis’ care, Dr. Brian Sims, called him the strongest premature baby he’s ever seen. “I’ve been doing this almost 20 years, but I’ve never seen a baby this young be as strong as he was. There was something special about Curtis,” Sims said.

Dr. Colm Travers, co-director of UAB Hospital’s Golden Week Program, anticipated Curtis breaking the record. “The first thing that struck me when I saw Curtis was how tiny he was, how fragile his skin was. I was amazed at such a young age that he was alive and that he was responding to the treatments,” Travers noted. “Initially, Curtis was on a lot of breathing support and medication for his heart and lungs to keep him alive. Then over the next several weeks, we were able to decrease the amount of support.”

The previous record holder, Richard Hutchinson, was born just a month before Travis and awarded the record in 2020. Previous to Richard, the record had remained the same for 34 years.

ARTICLE: RITA VOGT

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: WESH.COM

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