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Premature baby born on cruise ship last December finally leaves hospital

Jewel of the Seas doctor 'MacGyver's it' to keep 2-pound newborn alive
Jewel of the Seas doctor 'MacGyver's it' to keep 2-pound newborn alive 01:58

MIAMI -- An infant who weighed two pounds after being born prematurely three months ago on a cruise ship finally left the hospital Wednesday, officials said.

The little boy, named Altaïr, was discharged from Nicklaus Children's Hospital to the delight of his parents.

"We thank everybody that has gotten us here so far," said Patina, his mother. "We definitely want to give a big shoutout to people waiting to meet him back home."

Early childbirth
An early delivery by a baby boy while his parents were on a cruise in December 2022 led to tense moments and a heroic response. Nicklaus Children's Hospital

The child's parents said they named their son after the 12th brightest star in the galaxy while also trying to invoke freedom similar to a flying eagle.  

His mother went into labor while the family was onboard The Jewel of the Seas cruise ship.

The expectant mom was about five months into her pregnancy when she went into labor far from home and under less than ideal circumstances.

It was smooth sailing at the start of the trip.

"Everything was going great on the first day," said Cortair, the child's father. "There were no issues."

Altaïr would begin his journey into the world later that evening.

"Then later that night when she started to have some issues, I got concerned," Cortair said. "I called the medical team down below at the Royal Caribbean."

After the baby was born, medical officials had to take special precautions because of his early birth.

The ship's doctor reached out to Dr. Jorge Perez, a Miami neonatologist working at Kidz Medical Services at the time.

He stayed in contact with the ship over the next 12 hours and had to devise specific approaches to help the baby survive.

Hospital officials said the baby boy needed respiratory support because of his immature lungs. The child also suffered from episodes of apnea and bradycardia  

The mother was rushed to St. Ann's Bay Regional Hospital in Jamaica before ultimately being brought to Nicklaus Children's Hospital. 

"Altaïr stayed with us a total of three months," said Dr. Magaly Diaz-Barbosa. "He actually just reached his due date. We took care of him while he grew and became strong. Two weeks ago is when he was really true to be delivered, I think he did very well." 

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