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Premature twins set record at Cleveland Clinic, surviving at just 22 weeks

by | Sep 27, 2023

By Victoria Bergin 

Due to advances in modern medicine, premature babies are surviving at higher rates and earlier delivery dates. Kimyah and DJ Jackson set a record at Cleveland Clinic as the youngest surviving premature twins when they were born at 22 weeks.

When their mother Kimberly went to the hospital clearly in the early stages of labor, she was told that they had a 10-20% survival rate. Her doctors did everything they could to stop her labor, but they were unsuccessful.

“We closely work with the families in these situations to come to a decision on whether they would like comfort care or full resuscitation efforts. Kimberly wanted us to do everything we could for her twins,” said Dr. Firas Saker, the medical director of Cleveland Clinic NICU at Hillcrest Hospital.

The twins did need to be resuscitated and intubated, but they survived. They were each about the size of a soda can: Kimyah weighing in at 12 ounces, and DJ at 15 ounces. Due to the high level of risk, the twins were rushed to the NICU and Kimberly only got a glimpse of Kimyah, anxiously thinking, “She’s too small.”

The family spent the next 138 days in the hospital. At first, Kimberly wasn’t even able to hold her newborn babies because their skin was so fragile. There were many ups and downs during those months, but the twins were finally released and are developing well at almost one year old. The staff that cared for them celebrated their “graduation” and even made a heartwarming video.

In Ohio, Kimberly could have legally aborted her twins, or she could have chosen “comfort care,” which would have meant that Kimyah would have gotten no life-saving support after birth. There is speculation that the survival rate statistics are inaccurate because many families are convinced to abort or choose comfort care, believing their child has no chance of survival. However, there are countless stories of premature babies born before 24 weeks surviving when they are given the proper medical treatment.

Dr. Saker points out: “Along with medical advancements to care for premature babies, research shows centers that push the envelope consistently have more successful outcomes. If you asked me 10 years ago, resuscitation at less than 24 weeks gestation would not have been possible without the advanced technology and skillset we have today.”

As Kimyah and DJ are now thriving at home with their parents, he added, “It’s amazing to see the twins thriving. It serves as a reminder to all of us here why we do what we do every day.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and reposted with permission.

Categories: Premature babies