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Paracetamol trial yields promising results for premature babies

A new clinical trial conducted by a hospital in Sydney, Australia may change the way premature babies born with a common heart condition are treated.

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), the heart problem in question, is a condition in which excess blood flows to the baby’s lungs at birth, causing breathing difficulties. The condition affects half of infants born at less than 29 weeks gestation.

The trial involved 58 babies aged between 23 and 28 weeks being given paracetamol for five days every six hours from their day of birth.

The trial, which involved dozens of doctors and nurses, was led by neonatologist Tim Schindler at The Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick, Sydney and the results have been published in the peer-reviewed Neonatology Journal. It was carried out over a two-and-a-half-year period from November 2016 to March 2019.

‘Practice-changing’ results 

Dr Schindler told reporters that the results were “practice-changing”.

“If we have a safer alternative, then clinicians are more likely to choose paracetamol than the traditional medications that we’ve used in the past”.

“It’s been quite an exciting result, because the medications that we traditionally have been using are associated with some side effects, some of which are quite serious and paracetamol is potentially safer for these vulnerable babies”.

“The medications we have been using have side effects risking damage to other organs in the body, in particular the kidneys and the gastrointestinal system, even perforating the bowel.

He added, “We didn’t observe any side effects in paracetamol, however larger studies are needed”.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “There are so many wonderful stories of severely premature babies going on to survive, and it is fantastic to see so many advances in our ability to medically treat them so that they are able to live and thrive”.

“Yet with such stories becoming almost commonplace, when will our lawmakers decide to finally re-examine our cruel abortion laws that permit abortion even after the point at which babies are able to survive outside of the womb?”

“Of course, babies who cannot survive outside the womb have the same dignity and worth as the babies that can, and their lives should not be ended either. But the fact that more and more premature babies are going on to survive due to the medical advances discovered by the likes of Dr Schindler is yet more evidence of the cruelty and backward nature of abortion laws in the UK, Australia and beyond”.

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