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Infant Discharged From Hospital 10 Months After Premature Birth

December 22, 1995

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Little Jasmine Claudio, who weighed only 1 1/2 pounds at birth in February, headed home for Christmas in a tiny Santa outfit Friday as a ``pudgy and roly-poly″ 10-pounder.

``This is the greatest present I could ever receive,″ said Morena Claudio, the infant’s mother. ``I’ve been waiting for this day for so long.″

Jasmine’s father, Juan, who works in the meat department at a local supermarket, celebrated his daughter’s release on his 30th birthday.

Jasmine was born three months early on Feb. 21 at Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, after her 31-year-old mother developed toxemia, a life-threatening blood disorder.

From the start, doctors said the child’s chances for survival were marginal.

Like most premature babies, Jasmine had underdeveloped lungs that required her to be placed on a ventilator. She also had a heart murmur and a difficult time fighting off infections.

Her breathing was made difficult by a narrow trachea, which doctors remedied by putting in a trachea tube. The murmur was surgically corrected in May.

``She had a lot of complications,″ said Alice Goree, a registered nurse who cared for Jasmine in Centinela’s neonatal intensive care unit. ``I’ve done this kind of nursing for 15 years and I’ve only seen three trachs.″

But family and hospital personnel said Jasmine proved to be a fighter, bouncing back from several respiratory infections and adjusting to the trachea tube.

She became a favorite of the nurses, who nicknamed her ``Princess Jasmine,″ after a character in Disney’s animated film ``Aladdin.″

Jasmine, who gained about a pound a month in the hospital, was weaned from the ventilator three weeks ago and has continued to improve.

``She doesn’t look like she was a preemie anymore,″ Goree said. ``She’s very pudgy and roly-poly.

``She’s a very playful little girl. What’s amazing is how alert she is. She’s very social.″

The staff, which bought the Santa Claus outfit, took turns having their pictures taken with Jasmine as she prepared to leave.

The trachea tube will be needed for two more years as Jasmine’s lungs develop. Mrs. Claudio has been trained by the hospital to care for her daughter.

``I’m nervous, but I’m going to make it,″ said Mrs. Claudio, who also has a 9-year-old daughter. ``I’m strong. Nothing is going to happen to my daughter.

``She’s a tough cookie. She’s been through a lot. ... But she’s come back stronger, like she knows her mommy and pappy need her. It’s going to be a beautiful Christmas.″

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