March 17, 2023

World’s Most ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ Baby Defies Sub-1% sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ ᴏᴅᴅs ᴛᴏ ʙʀᴇᴀᴋ Record

World’s Most ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ Baby Defies Sub-1% sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ ᴏᴅᴅs ᴛᴏ ʙʀᴇᴀᴋ Record

Born in July 2020, exactly one month after the previous world’s most ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ baby, Curtis Zy-Keith Means from Alabama, USA, would go on to make history.

Initially, Michelle “Chelly” Butler’s pregnancy seemed to be progressing well and on track to go to full term. But on 4 July 2020, she had to be rushed into hospital for ᴇᴍᴇʀɢᴇɴᴄʏ sᴜʀɢᴇʀʏ.

She was quickly transferred from her local hospital  which is heralded for having one of the leading ɴᴇᴏɴᴀᴛᴏʟᴏɢʏ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘᴀᴇᴅɪᴀᴛʀɪᴄ ᴅᴇᴘᴀʀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛs in the country. Thanks to the quick response of the ᴇxᴘᴇʀɪᴇɴᴄᴇᴅ ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ team at the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU), following his mother’s wishes, Curtis was delivered at a gestational age of 21 weeks 1 day (148 days) at around 1 p.m. on 5 July

His original due date had been 11 November. A full-term pregnancy is typically 40 weeks, or 280 days, making Curtis 132 days – almost 19 weeks – ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ. As a newborn, Curtis weighed only 420 g (14.8 oz), which is about the same as a soccer ball.

To everyone’s amazement, Curtis responded extraordinarily well to treatment and, as the days and weeks went on, he grew stronger and stronger.  Dr Brian Sims, who was greatly involved with Curtis’ sᴜʙsᴇǫᴜᴇɴᴛ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ, told us: “The numbers say that babies at this age will not sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ”.

After 275 days (about nine months) of being looked after by a huge team at the RNICU and the wider Women and Infants Center, it was determined that Curtis was fit enough to go home on 6 April 2021.

His discharge from the hospital was only made possible with a ᴛᴀɪʟᴏʀᴇᴅ ᴄᴏᴜʀsᴇ ᴏF ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ and special equipment such as bottled oxygen and a feeding tube, but it was nevertheless a major milestone on his extraordinary journey.

Curtis, or “Poodie” as his family also call him, celebrated his first birthday on 5 July 2021. At this point he qualified as the most ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ baby to sᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴇ


He has three siblings, the eldest of which love to help out with day-to-day care such as bathtime, getting dressed and feeding.

“He’s very active. I’m tired already!” Chelly told us with a grin when asked about her son’s energy levels.

“I’m very proud of him because where he came from and where he at now, I can tell the difference. When he was going home, the feeling we had was of being privileged to have been able to take care of him and his mum. It’s such a privilege taking care of these tiny people.  After everything that his mum had been through… and the months of not knowing what was going to happen, I was so happy for her that Curtis got to go home and also that he got the recognition [from Guinness World Records] for what she had done to advocate for him, to give him a chance.”Chelly saidAmazingly, Curtis was delivered exactly one month after the previous record holder, Richard Hutchinson from Wisconsin, who was born at a gestational age of 21 weeks 2 days, or 131 days ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ on 5 June 2020.

Perhaps even more incredible, though, is that prior to Richard, this record had remained ᴜɴʙʀᴏᴋᴇɴ for 34 years. James Elgin Gill was born to Brenda and James Gill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, at a gestational age of 21 weeks 5 days, or 128 days ᴘʀᴇᴍᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ, on 20 May 1987.

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