World’s Most Premature Baby Defies Sub-1% Survival Odds and Stuns Doctors

By Darby Jones November 15, 2021
A baby boy born in Alabama became the most premature baby to survive on his first birthday on July 5, 2021.

In the beginning Michelle “Chelly” Butler seemed to be experiencing a normal pregnancy — she was progressing well and expected to go full-term. However, on July 4, 2020, she was rushed to the hospital and immediately went into emergency surgery.

Butler was then transferred to the hospital at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), which is well-known for having one of the leading neonatal and pediatric departments in the nation.

Curtis Zy-Keith Means was delivered at 21 weeks, 1 day at around 1 p.m. on July 5 — exactly one month after the previous world’s most premature baby. His original due date was just last week on Nov. 11. At birth, Curtis weighed just 420 grams, or about the same weight as a soccer ball.

“The medical staff told me that they don’t normally keep babies at that age,” Butler told Guinness World Records. “It was very stressful.”

Curtis was responding very well to his treatment and continued growing stronger and healthier. However, Curtis was a twin, and his sister was less developed and unable to respond to treatment, so she died a day after birth.

After 275 days in the hospital, Curtis was able to go home on April 6, 2021. He celebrated his first birthday on July 5, 2021, which officially made him the most premature baby to survive. He has three older siblings who love to help out by giving him baths, dressing and feeding him.

Image source: Guinness World Records