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Baby Had Virtually No Chance of Survival — Then the Record-Breaking Preemie Shocked Doctors and 'Defied All Scientific Odds'

Image Source: UAB News
Image Source: UAB News

Babies like Curtis have virtually zero chance of survival, yet this amazing child — born at 21 weeks and one-day gestation — defied all expectations and is now being recognized by Guinness World Records.

Plainly stated: no one has ever been born so young and survived.


Curtis’ harrowing story is deeply intriguing. Things were going well for expectant mom Michelle “Chelly” Butler during her pregnancy last year until she went into premature labor on July 4, 2020, and was rushed to the hospital.

That’s when the situation took a dire turn. Curtis was delivered 132 days premature, weighing less than 1 pound; his twin, C’Asya, died a day after their birth.

By all accounts, the prognosis for the small baby was grim — but, alas, a miracle unfolded. Curtis overcame every obstacle, is now healthy, and has been designated by Guinness “the world’s most premature baby to survive.”

Doctors are understandably stunned.

“Survival at this gestational age has never happened before, so before Curtis was born his chances of survival would have been far less than 1%,” Dr. Colm Travers, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told Guinness World Records.

Travers was “astounded” to see the child responding so well to treatments the day after his birth — and as time progressed, Curtis just kept defying the odds. With a less than 1% chance of survival, he wasn’t giving up.

“Curtis defied all scientific odds,” Travers told UAB News. “Gestational age and birth weight are two key predictors of a premature baby’s survival, and other factors include if the baby is a female, a single birth and if the mother was administered steroids that help with lung development before birth. Curtis did not meet any of these criteria.”

The situation didn’t come without its challenges. As The Associated Press noted, the baby spent 275 days in the hospital and needed help learning how to eat. He still requires oxygen and a feeding tube and doctors say some uncertainty abounds.

Dr. Brian Sims, who treated Curtis, said there is no blueprint to follow as “there is no one else like him,” but it’s likely his journey will help doctors better treat other kids like him in the future.

“He started writing his own story the day he was born,” Sims told The AP. “That story will be read and studied by many and, hopefully, will help improve care of premature infants around the world.”

Thank God for this miracle. Continue to pray for Curtis and his family as he grows and develops.

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