A baby from South Bend spent the first eight months of her life at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health when she was born a so-called micro-preemie at 23 weeks. Now she is headed home for the first time.
The baby, named Miracle Mullins, was also the first in Indiana to undergo a rare brain surgery.
Premature babies often suffer from hydrocephalus, where an excess of cerebrospinal fluid causes the brain to swell. What’s not so common, says Riley neurosurgeon Jeffrey Raskin, is a procedure Mullins received.
“For a long time the definitive surgery for hydrocephalus has been the placement of a drainage system, a permanent implantation and those are at risk of failing, they can get infected,” says Raskin.
Raskin says Mullins underwent a procedure where doctors made a small hole in the base of the brain to drain fluid and then cauterize part of the hole. That’s meant to prevent the need for a shunt.
Miracle’s mom Mailika Mullins says her daughter has had five surgeries to correct defects in her heart, head and intestines during her short life.
“Anyone would hate to see their baby get wheeled away and go down to surgery,” she says.
Raskin says this surgery was a success.
“Right now all indications are that it is working, because her head is shrinking not getting larger and her fontanel, the soft spot, is not bulging, it’s actually flat,” he says.
Approximately 1-in-10 babies in Indiana are born premature. Micro-preemie babies born at 23 weeks have a 37 percent survival rate.