The world’s earliest premature baby recently celebrated his first birthday after having a 0% chance of survival.
Richard Scott William Hutchinson made his grand entrance into the world on June 5, 2020. With an expiration date of October 13, he was born four months ahead of schedule.
Richard’s mother experienced medical complications and went into labor unexpectedly. The doctors delivered him and did their best to maintain his life. At just 21 weeks and two days old, Richard was 131 days premature. To put that in perspective, most babies are born around 40 weeks of age.
Richard had the odds against him from the start, weighing just 340 g (11.9 oz) at birth. That’s about the weight of a can of soup, and it’s just one-tenth the average weight of a newborn. When their parents held their child, it fit in the palm of their hands. Due to her very premature birth, doctors were not optimistic about her chances of survival.
Richard was transferred to theat Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis. There, the doctors gave their parents the news they had been dreading. Dr. Stacy Kern, part of Richard’s neonatology team, told them that he had no chance of survival during prenatal counseling.
They wanted to prepare them for the worst, but Dr. Kern felt a ray of hope on the horizon. She knew Richard would fight for the first few weeks of his life. But, if he could get over that, he felt like he would survive.
Fortunately, his intuition was correct, and the premature “miracle baby” celebrated his first birthday on June 5, 2021. A first birthday marks a huge milestone for any child, but it is even more special for Richard.He was officially declared the earliest surviving baby on record.
The little premature baby inspired everyone with his determination to survive against all odds.
It seems that Richard gets his fighting spirit from his parents, Beth and Rick Hutchinson. Dr. Kern believes they played a critical role in his son’s success story.
“I credit his miraculous survival to his wonderful parents who were there for him every step of the way and to the entire neonatal team at Children’s Minnesota. It takes a village to care for and support these babies until they are ready to go home, ”Kern told Guinness World Records.
He added that Beth and Rick fought for Richard the entire time and never stopped defending him. Her strength and positive attitude during a terrible and difficult time greatly inspired her and the entire neonatal team.
The first few months were the hardest to get through. Doctors weren’t even sure Richard would make it, even though they were hopeful. To add even more stress to the situation, Richard’s birth occurred during a global pandemic. Hospitals had many restrictions, limiting visiting hours even for parents.
They could not spend the night in the hospital with him or share visiting duties with other family members. So Rick and Beth commuted daily from their home in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, to Minneapolis to see their premature son.
“We made sure we were there to support him,” Rick told Guinness World Records. “I think that helped him get through this because he knew he could count on us.”
Despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic, Richard’s parents always found a way to visit him. They asked the doctors constantly for updates so they could stay informed about his condition. For six months, Richard continually improved, gaining weight and strength. In early December 2020, doctors finally released him from the hospital after a long road to recovery.
Baby Richard was given a 0% chance of living, but instead ended up breaking the record for the youngest surviving premature baby. | https://t.co/LqfLD7u6BH
– WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) April 14, 2021
A miracle unfolded
That day, emotions intensified for both the family and the neonatal team caring for Richard.
Dr. Kern said: “The day Richard was discharged from the NICU was such a special day. I remember picking him up from his crib and hugging him with tears in my eyes.
“I couldn’t believe this was the same boy who was once so sick that I was afraid he would not survive. The same child that once fit in the palm of my hand, with skin so translucent that I could see every rib and glass of its tiny body. I couldn’t help but squeeze it and tell him how proud I was of him.
“It taught me what it really means to be tough, and every time I look at it, I remember how strong and amazing all these little guys are.is it so!”
Richard has come a long way and enjoys a happy and healthy life at home.
Richard recently celebrated his first birthday surrounded by his parents and family. The family also has three dogs and Richard loves to hang out with them. Beth says he is a very happy baby, always wearing a smile on his adorable little face. He has bright blue eyes that sparkle with life, mesmerizing everyone around him.
Although the premature baby has made a lot of progress, it still requires regular visits to the doctor and medical equipment at home. Currently, he uses oxygen, a pulse oximeter machine, and a pump for his feeding tube. The family hopes that he will soon be able to survive without the machines, but they are happy to have him at home. He has come a long way from his days in the NICU and his parents could not be more proud.
Beth continues to raise awareness aboutto help other parents with the experience. Richard fought hard to survive, but he couldn’t have done it without his dedicated team of doctors and nurses. The Hutchinsons are infinitely grateful for Richard’s neonatal team.
“They are the most amazing team,” said Beth. “We love the staff who took care of our son and wish we could share it with them all the time. He was called the ‘miracle baby’ when he was there. I agree with them. “
Dr. Kern is grateful for her role in the inspiring success story of the premature baby who has touched the lives of millions.
“Richard is the youngest baby I have ever had the honor of caring for. I feel so blessed and honored to be the neonatologist on duty the week Richard was born. To be a part of his amazing story … I can’t even put into words how amazing that feels. “
“I think Richard’s story has inspired so many people around the world and I think we will all continue to learn from him. Thank you Richard, Beth and Rick for all that you have taught us. We can’t wait to see what the future holds. “