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This 22-Week Preemie Is the Youngest Baby to Survive in Israel

A newborn in an incubator. in the NICU unit

Having a baby born premature is one of the scariest things in the world, because the outcome is completely out of your control–you feel utterly helpless. This is what happened to Roxanne Yun and Eli Haba when their baby was born this past April.

Aharon was born at 22 weeks, only weighing in at 670 grams. He was finally just released as healthy from Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital on Tuesday. As of now, he is believed to be the most premature infant ever to survive in Israel–which is absolutely amazing. Stranger yet, his actual survival may have stemmed from a hospital miscalculation of his age.

Haba told Channel 2 news (Hebrew) that the doctors initially gave a grim outlook:

“The doctors here were honest; they came and told me straight to my face. They told me that he had a 20 percent chance of survival. And even if was one of the 20% and did survive, there was a 90% chance he would have disabilities.”

Meanwhile, the doctors thought the baby was a week older than he was, which Professor Dror Mandel, director of the Department of Neonatology in Ichilov’s Sourasky Medical Center claims may have saved the child’s life:

“It may be that if we had not been ‘mistaken,’ thinking that he was a week older, he would not be alive today. In medicine you also need luck sometimes, just like everything in life.”

Why did the week make a difference? Because if a baby is born at 22 weeks or earlier, it is typical protocol for the hospital not to bring a neonatal expert to the delivery room due to the small chances of survival.

Last year, The New England Journal Of Medicine discovered that 22-week-old babies did not survive without medical intervention. Out of the 78 cases when the babies were treated, only 18 survived. However, only seven survived without moderate to severe disabilities.

Yun stayed strong, however, and believed her son would survive:

“I prayed for him to be strong, to fight. I came here and told him, ‘Be strong! Mom and Dad love you.’ He is my son, my son needs my love.”

Miraculously, Aharon was released from the hospital this week with no complications, although his future development will need to be monitored continuously. I can’t even imagine how thrilled and relieved his parents must be right now–although I’m so glad baby Aharon is doing well so far.


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The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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