On his birthday on June 5, 2021, one-year-old Richard Hutchinson smeared his fists into his colorful birthday cake and shoved the frosting into his mouth.
For cheering parents Beth and Rick Hutchinson, this was a more significant milestone than a birthday is for most families. Little Richard is a medical miracle.
Richard was born 131 days premature after his mother began experiencing medical complications, and doctors warned his parents their tiny baby’s survival rate was 0%. He weighed 11.9 ounces, a tenth of the average baby weight, and fit in the palm of an adult’s hand, Daily News reported.
He needed a ventilator to supply him with oxygen, and had nutrition delivered through an IV threaded through a vein at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis.
Due to the coronavirus, his parents couldn’t stay with him overnight, so they drove across state lines every day to spend as much time as possible with their son. After six months, he was strong enough to go home. Though he still relies on a feeding tube, he is learning how to drink from a bottle.
“I credit his miraculous survival to his wonderful parents who were there for him every step of the way and to the entire neonatology team at Children’s Minnesota,” said Richard’s doctor, Dr. Stacy Kern. “It takes a village to care for and support these babies until the time they are ready to go home.”
He is the most premature baby to survive. Beth told local news she wanted to publicize Richard’s survival in hopes of encouraging doctors to study how best to care for seriously premature babies and encourage their struggling parents.
“If it will help other doctors help other babies,” she said, “do it! Because that’s another baby that can go home with their parents.”
Updated Monday, June 21, 2021 at 11:12 am .
Updated Monday, June 21, 2021 at 11:14 am .