Human Development

Time Magazine’s ‘Preemie Revolution’ Illustrates How These Babies are Surviving and Thriving (2014)

A front cover photo for TIME magazine unintentionally sends as strong a pro-life message as we could ever want: “Saving Preemies: Emalyn was Due in June, She arrived in March.”

… Written by Jeffrey Kluger, the home base for the story is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He writes a realistic but deeply optimistic profile of little David Joyce that explains the how and why of what TIME calls “A Preemie Revolution: Cutting-edge medicine and dedicated caregivers are helping the tiniest babies survive—and thrive.”

At the risk of stating the abundantly obvious, the incongruity (to put it mildly) of aborting the same age baby that is tenderly, lovingly cared for by a “SWAT team” of devote specialists is hard to ignore—or understand.

Babies whose lives everyone is desperately trying to save could have been—and are—aborted.

Bear in mind these little ones are sensitive to pain.

… and I want to share some of the amazing information embedded in [the] lengthy and powerful account.

Here are four thoughts:

#1 “Every decade since the 1960s, the age of viability has been reduced by a week,” Dr. Edward McCabe, medical director of the March of Dimes, tells Kluger.

Kluger writes, “In 1960 the survival rate for infants under 1,500 g, or 3.3 lb., was 28%. In 2010 it was 78%, and a lot of that improvement has occurred just since the 1980s.”

#2. Kluger writes objectively about the most difficult and challenging cases but adds (as he should), “Thanks to advances not available even a few years ago, the odds of surviving and thriving are improving all the time. Lives that once might have begun and ended in a NICU can now be lived long and well—and there are many reasons that’s true.”

#3. There is an amazing graphic which shows many of the major problems these preemies face and what is being done now to improve survivability. To name just

one, the brain. “Blood vessels that are not yet fully developed may bleed into fluid-filled areas of the brain.” What’s being done? “To reduce swelling and relieve

pressure, a tube in the brain can drain excess fluid.” There are other brilliantly innovative approaches to address the problem of immature lungs and bolstering the

baby’s immune system…
Read the entire article —
[30 May 14, Dave Andrusko,]