Smallest Known Preemie Now Honor Student

Smallest known preemie a medical success (CBC News)

The tiniest premature baby ever known to survive is now a 15-year-old honours student who plays the violin, doctors say. Madeline Mann was born 27 weeks into her mother’s pregnancy, weighing 280 grams or 9.9 ounces. At 25 centimetres long, she was smaller than a football. The doctors who reported the birth say to their knowledge, her birth weight remains the lowest in the medical literature for a child who went on to survive.

They say several factors were in Madeline’s favour. First of all, she is a girl, and premature girls tend to have a better prognosis than boys. Secondly, earlier preterm newborns with higher weights have survived, including some born at 22 weeks of pregnancy. (A normal human pregnancy lasts 38 weeks.) “These extremely low-birth-weight, ‘miracle’ newborns can propagate false expectations for families, caregivers, and the medico-legal community alike,” her doctors warned in a letter appearing in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.”Gestational age and female sex are critical characteristics in newborns at the threshold of viability.”

Sure. Still, this is remarkable. And that threshold is constantly moving.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    At the risk of seting off a firestorm, allow me to suggest this girl by simply existing, gives new meanings and levels to the arguments surrounding abortion.

  2. La Femme Crickita says:

    What an angel. I am so glad she survived and
    that she has been blessed with a musical ability.
    The world is better for her being here. Thanks
    so much for that wonderful story.