September 28, 2005

Positivity: Tiniest Preemie Now an Honor Student

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:05 am

The story is a year old. So?:

BOSTON – Madeline Mann once weighed less than a can of soda as the tiniest surviving newborn known to medicine. Next week, she enters high school as something even more extraordinary — an honor student who plays violin and likes to Rollerblade.

“Her survival wasn’t a miracle; her development was,” says Dr. Jonathan Muraskas of Loyola University Hospital in Maywood, Ill. He treated her as a newborn and reported on her progress Thursday with other doctors in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine.

At birth, she wasn’t even pint-sized. Born 27 weeks into her mother’s pregnancy, she weighed just 9.9 ounces, less than any surviving baby in medical history. She was just 10 inches long, smaller than a football and resting easily in a nurse’s hand.

….. Now living outside Chicago, Madeline returned to Loyola Hospital last week for a belated 15th birthday party and a reunion with doctors and nurses. A blonde slip of a girl, she beamed a smile full of teeth and braces.

Her curriculum vitae otherwise reads much like any other teenager’s. She likes to listen to music, chat with friends on the Internet, go camping and ride horses.

Last summer, she joined in a volunteer project giving out blankets to children with cancer. She has worked for a food pantry, visited with residents at a nursing home, and traveled to Michigan to rehabilitate houses.

“Madeline has overcome a lot of barriers,” says her mother. “She has written her own story.”

Her fairy-tale ending? She’d like to be a psychologist.

She’ll probably have to learn about emotional and mental aberrations from a textbook, though. Her doctors and family says she’s just a normal teen.

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