A baby boy born at just 21 weeks and two days gestation has recently celebrated his first birthday, prompting Guinness World Records to officially recognise him as the most premature baby to survive.
Richard Scott William Hutchinson, weighed a mere 11.9 ounces (340g) at birth – about one tenth of normal birth weight. He was so small that his tiny form could nestle in the palm of a hand.
In the UK, it is legal to have an abortion for most reasons up to 24 weeks, or up to birth when the unborn child is thought to have a disability.
When Richard’s mother Beth went into early labour due to medical complications, the neonatal team at Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis told her that her baby had a “zero per cent chance of survival”.
Despite the poor prognosis, Beth told Guinness World Records: “I knew the first few weeks of Richard’s life would be very difficult, but I felt that if he could make it through that, he would be a survivor.”
Responding to the recognition of Richard’s record, parents Beth and Rick said: “We’re still surprised about it. But we’re happy.
“It’s a way we can share his story to raise awareness about premature births.”
Neonatal specialist Stacy Kern credits Richard’s survival to the devotion of his parents and the entire medical team at Children’s Minnesota.
every time I look at him, I’m reminded how strong and amazing all these little beautiful babies are!
When he was able to return home six months later, Kern said: “The day Richard was discharged from the NICU was such a special day.”
She added: “I couldn’t believe this was the same little boy that once was so sick, that I feared he may not survive.”
Kern concluded: “He taught me what it truly means to be resilient and, every time I look at him, I’m reminded how strong and amazing all these little beautiful babies are!”