In most cases, a baby born at 23 gestational weeks cannot survive. The emotional story of Marie-Janette Salom of Kfar Makar has moved the staff of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Western Galilee Medical Center- Nahariya. Marie-Janette was born last November weighing a mere 1.1 lbs. (517 grams). “For 10 long years I waited for this pregnancy. In my fifth month I began to feel contractions and the physicians explained to me that I could not continue this pregnancy.”

“In medical literature, a baby girl born at 23 weeks has 10% likelihood of survival, and boys have even less probablity,” states Dr. Vered Fliesher Sheffer, Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Western Galilee Medical Center of Nahariya. “I explained to the parents that the situation is complex and chances are likely negligible, but if she survives the first few days, there will be a long road ahead of us of medical ups and downs. Marie-Jeanette had to undergo several surgeries during hospitalization and from birth was attended to by a midwife but also a pediatrician; she was accompanied by department staff and her amazing family, wrapped with warmth and love. "

The weeks passed and despite a number of events faced by most infants born this prematurely, she beat all odds and slowly began to gain weight. In light of the remarkable improvement in her condition, the medical staff told the excited parents that they could take their daughter home.

Father Jamal: "We have had a very difficult time; there were moments when we felt the end was near. But thanks to a wonderful staff, hospital management, doctors and nurses who took care of us and to encourage with their support. This professional and dedicated staff; I thank them. I thank God for the wonderful gift we received and we are very excited to go home. Our case can give hope to couples in our situation. Do not give up and in the end believe that happiness will come."

Although Marie-Janette’s weight has reached 5.5lbs (2.5 Kilos) and is able to be discharged home for the first time since her birth, she is expected to require close follow-up regarding her development.

In 2012 alone, there were 538 premature babies born in Western Galilee Medical Center requiring continued care in the NICU. 10 of these preemies were born before 25 gestational weeks. Currently, a new Women’s Health Wing is being built to accommodate all of the healthcare needs of new mothers and babies including the expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to provide continuous protected care and all needed service in a single location.