South Bay : Baby's Homecoming Is Family's Best Gift

Turning 30 years old can be tough, but for Juan Claudio it was a piece of cake Friday because Centinela Medical Center in Inglewood sent his infant daughter, Jasmine, home for the first time.

"This is the best birthday and Christmas present I could ever get," said Claudio, a resident of South Gate. "I'm so happy."

Jasmine entered the world three months ahead of schedule after her mother, Morena Claudio, was found to have a severe case of toxemia. Initially, doctors said Jasmine's chances for survival were marginal, but after a 10-month battle with respiratory and heart problems, the baby girl was strong enough to go home.

Jasmine weighed just 1 1/2 pounds when she was born in February, but was up to 10 pounds by the time she left the hospital. During her stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, one of the longest infant stays recorded at the hospital, Jasmine had surgery to correct a heart murmur and a tracheotomy to assist her breathing.

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