A 16-month-old Alabama boy who weighed less than a pound when he was born at 21 weeks and one day has set a world record — being named the most premature infant to survive, according to Guinness World Records.
Curtis Means and his twin C’Asya had a less than 1 percent chance to survive after they were born to Michelle “Chelly” Butler at UAB Hospital in Birmingham on July 5, 2020. A full-term pregnancy is usually 40 weeks, making the siblings about 19 weeks premature.
Sadly, C’Asya died the following day, but her brother – who weighed a mere 14.8 ounces at birth – made it, setting a new world record.
He spent 275 days in the hospital, where he was removed from a ventilator after three months and discharged in April.
The proud mom told Guinness World Records that Curtis — or “Poodie, as his family calls him — is now “very active.”
“I’m tired already,” she joked.
Dr. Brian Sims, the neonatologist who oversaw the delivery, told Guinness World Records that he had never seen a premature baby so “strong.”
“I’ve been doing this almost 20 years, but I’ve never seen a baby this young be as strong as he was. There was something special about Curtis,” he said.
The plucky boy celebrated his first birthday on July 5, at which point he qualified as the most premature baby to survive.
Dr. Colm Travers, co-director of the hospital’s Golden Week Program for extremely preterm infants, was the first person to suspect that Curtis’ gestational age could set a world record.
“The first thing that struck me when I saw Curtis was how tiny he was, how fragile his skin was. I was amazed at such a young age that he was alive and that he was responding to the treatments,” Travers told Guinness World Records.
“Initially, Curtis was on a lot of breathing support and medication for his heart and lungs to keep him alive. Then over the next several weeks, we were able to decrease the amount of support.
“When he was about three months old, we were finally able to take him off the ventilator. That was a special moment for me,” Travers said.
Curtis was delivered exactly a month after the previous record holder, Richard Hutchinson from Wisconsin, who was born at a gestational age of 21 weeks 2 days, or 131 days premature on June 5, 2020, Guinness World Records said.
And before Richard, the record had remained unbroken for 34 years.
On May 20, 1987, James Elgin Gill was born in Canad, at a gestational age of 21 weeks 5 days, or 128 days premature.