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One of America’s smallest babies heads home from New York hospital

Jamie and John Florio
Jamie and John Florio

(VALHALLA, N.Y.) — A baby born weighing less than 11 ounces, about the size of a human heart, has been sent home after spending 270 days in the hospital.

Connor Florio, now 8 months, was discharged from Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York, on April 9, 2019. Now, parents John and Jamie Florio are thrilled to have their family all in one place.

“He’s going really well,” dad John Florio told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “He’s still on a couple of medications and oxygen. He’s very playful, calm — he doesn’t cry very much. He loves people watching and so far he doesn’t mind getting licked by the dog.”

Connor arrived via emergency caesarean section on July 13, 2018, at 26 weeks at Westchester Medical Center. He was then transferred to the NICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and was diagnosed with with chronic lung disease, bronchopulmonary dysplasia and SGA (small for gestational age), among various other medical conditions.

When he was born, doctors told Connor’s parents that their son may not survive.

“We knew that was definetely a possibilty with his size,” John Florio said. “I was cautiously optimistic.”

Dr. Dennis Davidson, unit chief for the Infant & Toddler Unit at Blythedale Children’s Hospital, said a 26-week-old baby born at normal weight would normally have an 80 to 90 percent chance of survival.

“However, Connor was less than half of the appropriate weight for a 26-week baby,” Davidson said in a statement released to GMA. “He was 310 grams which is about 11 ounces, roughly. And his father could literally hold him in his hand. Babies who are that small barely have a chance for survival but he made it through.”

“The work at the neonatal ICU at Westchester County Medical Center, Maria Fareri, brought him from a life-threatening situation at birth to the point where we could start his rehabilitation at Blythedale,” Davidson added.

Besides medical care, Connor received physical therapy, occupational therapy, as well as speech and feeding therapy, Davidson noted.

“He attended infant school,” Davidson said. “There he became much more interactive, starting to play with toys. So he got a lot of developmental care. Partly from us, but his family was here all the time and you can’t beat that.”

To keep their spirits up, Jamie and John Florio dressed Connor in outfits for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, among other holidays.

Today, Connor weighs 10 pounds, 10 ounces, and is happy to be home.

“It’s really nice to be our own little family in almost 9 months,” mom Jamie Florio told GMA of her son’s homecoming. “I don’t know if Connor would’ve survived today if it wasn’t for the doctors and nurses. They really are superheroes in the NICU.”

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