Madeline Mann, former blob of tissue, was born weighing only 9.9 ounces. You read that right, a little over half of one pound. She weighed less than a burger at Applebees. She was certainly not viable and her potential quality of life should not have entitled her to any of those unalienable rights that larger newborns are, for now, endowed by some mystical sky being.

There is a multi-billion dollar industry founded around the premise that such blobs of tissue are more expendable and less valuable than a pair of worn out parachute pants.

But this little blob of tissue did something special. She grew up. Not only did she grow up, but she has a quality of life better than that of even Kathleen Sebelius.

The report involves Madeline Mann, born in 1989 weighing 9.9 ounces, then the world record; and 7-year-old Rumaisa Rahman, whose 9.2-ounce birth weight remains the world’s tiniest. Two other babies born since 1989 weighed less than Madeline and a German girl born was born last year at her same birth weight.

Madeline Mann


Madeline Mann, now 22, was born prematurely, weighing only 9.9 ounces. A medical report released in the journal Pediatrics details her progress and that of another tiny preemie, but says most babies born so small fare poorly.

Despite her extraordinary birth, Madeline, the college senior, says she rarely thinks about it, preferring instead to focus on her future.

“I’m the pretty normal, tough cookie, nice kinda girl,” the 22-year-old wrote in an e-mail, the only way she would answer reporters. “I have normal interests and am a normal person, which I am very lucky to have become with so many things that could have impeded that process.”

The millions of babies just as little as Madeline have their processes impeded every year. The report is quick to point out that most babies born so small fare poorly. Not quite as poorly as those not allowed to be born.