By: Jennifer Chan Chien Mei (BAC Apprentice)
The Guinness World Records has officially made Richard Scott William Hutchinson, the world’s most premature baby to survive after birth, on his first birthday.
Richard was born on 5 June 2020, 131 days prematurely at the Children’s Minnesota hospital in Minneapolis. He only weighed 340g upon his birth and was given ‘0% chance of survival’ by the neonatal specialists. He was so tiny that he could fit into the palm of his parents.
Despite the chance of Richard’s survival, his parents, Beth and Rick Hutchinson stayed strong to give full support to him. It was tough for the Hutchinson family, as they were not only worried about the condition of their son, but also due to COVID-19, they could not spend the nights with Richard at the hospital. Sharing the duty of taking care of baby Richard with other family members was also not possible with the situation then. However, Beth and Rick spent as much time as they could with their son by travelling across the state border from their home in Wisconsin every day.
“We made sure we were there to give him support,” Rick said. “I think that helped him get through this because he knew he could count on us.”
After more than 18 months from his birth, he was discharged from the hospital, relying on a few assistive equipment. He still required regular check-ups. The Hutchinsons work hard on getting him off the equipment, but they understand that it would take time.
When Beth was asked about her feelings to have broken such a record, she admitted “It doesn’t feel real.”
“We’re still surprised about it. But we’re happy. It’s a way we can share his story to raise awareness about premature births.”
Beth advised the parents of premature babies not to give up. “Advocate for your child as much as you can. Be nosey because it is your child, and you deserve to know what is going on,” she said.
Beth also added, “I couldn’t believe this was the same little boy that once was so sick, that I feared he may not survive. The same little boy that once fit in the palm of my hand, with skin so translucent that I could see every rib and vessel in his tiny body. I couldn’t help but squeeze him and tell him how proud I was of him. He taught me what it truly means to be resilient and, every time I look at him, I’m reminded how strong and amazing all these little beautiful babies are!”