Tiny baby grows steadily thanks to devoted nursing
July 5, 2012 Eriko Tamaki of Ryukyu Shimpo
Sachika Kinjo, a girl born this January weighing just 407 grams left the Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital on July 3. Even for the hospital specializing in treatment for the most critically ill baby-patients, a baby weighing only 407 grams required intensive care. It was said that there was no guarantee that she would survive for very long after birth, but she grew to 2990 grams in weight and 45 centimeters in body length. Her parents have sensed her vitality and the preciousness of life, and owe a debt of gratitude to the medical staff who helped maintain this tiny life.
Sachika’s mother, Natsuko, gave birth to her baby 16 weeks early when she was hospitalized for pregnancy-induced hypertension.
The doctor told Yukito, the father of Sachika, that he doesn’t know if he can help Sachika because she was born too early and too small. When the parents saw Sachika in the newborn intensive care unit, she was so small that she could be held in the palm of an adult hand and was hooked up to many tubes. Natsuko felt sorry for the baby and blamed herself.
Sachika underwent heart surgery nine days after she was born, and at one stage her weight decreased to just 367 grams, but she then grew steadily thanks to the careful nursing treatment that she received. She still needs domiciliary oxygen therapy for some time to supplement her lung function, but has no other medical issues.
Natsuko went to the hospital every day from her family home in Onna to breast-feed her baby daughter. She said, “The nurses and doctors provided such tender care for us as parents feeling so depressed about the situation.” Sachika has to live at Natsuko’s family home, so that the day when the family can live together on Ie-jima, where their home is located, has been postponed to a later date. Yukito said, “I am still worried, but people back on the island have been waiting for us. I hope we can return to the island together soon,” and he smiled.
The vice-chief of the Pediatric Department, Ryuichi Genkawa, who is looking after Sachika, explained that after they check out of the hospital, cooperation, including that from the community is vital for the development and treatment of premature babies.
(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)
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