Premature twins the size of a hand airlifted to Shanghai in critical condition
Hospital says infants could not get the specialist care they needed in eastern Chinese city after they were born at 26 weeks
Newborn twins no bigger than the palm of a hand are in critical condition after they were born prematurely and taken by air ambulance to a hospital 400km away in Shanghai on Thursday, local media reports.
Their 30-year-old mother, who was not identified, gave birth at 26 weeks to a baby girl weighing just 770 grams (1.7 pounds) and a boy weighing 905 grams (2 pounds) on Wednesday in eastern Jiangsu, news website jschina.com.cn reported.
The twins were transferred by helicopter from the Huaian No 1 People’s Hospital to Xinhua Hospital in Shanghai the following day at the request of their father, surnamed Wu, the report on Thursday said.
Xia Hongping, deputy director of Xinhua Hospital’s neonatal department, told the news outlet the Huaian hospital could not provide the specialist care the twins needed, and that the doctors in Shanghai were more experienced and had better equipment to treat the infants.
“Both babies suffered anoxia [lack of oxygen] and showed high infection indices in blood tests, so it was a matter of urgency that they be transferred to Shanghai,” Xia said.
The infants are now being treated in intensive care at the hospital. Apart from being underweight, the fact the twins are IVF babies is another risk factor, according to the report.
But it was not easy to find a helicopter with the necessary equipment to transfer the critically ill newborns. After checking the helicopters available in Zhenjiang, in the south of Jiangsu province, King Wing Aviation eventually found one in Ningbo, in the east, which had the incubator and respirators needed for the journey.
Xinhua Hospital staff then made the trip to Huaian to collect the twins on Thursday morning, bringing them safely back to Shanghai by the afternoon, the report said.
Some of the family members were concerned about whether the flight could be harmful for the infants, but Wang Yibing, a spokesman for the Huaian hospital, told the news website the helicopter did not climb higher than 4,000 metres and the journey was considered safe for the newborns.