A first birthday is a milestone event for any family, but Eliora “Ellie” Schneider’s might be a miracle. The Kansas City-area girl was born after 21 weeks. “She had all the odds stacked against her,” explained Dr. Barbara Carr, a MEDNAX-affiliated neonatologist at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. “We all kept working on and continuing to believe in her and she did well.” This is partly thanks to Carr and the team at Saint Luke’s – three years ago, they launched the ELGAN (Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborn) program, which offers families treatment options for the earliest preemies. The hospital was the first in the area to treat those extremely premature births. Nationally, Carr said babies born prior to the 24-week mark like Ellie have a 6 percent survival rate, but at Saint Luke’s, they have a 50 percent survival rate.
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