Quote from Semper_Gumby
This is an interesting topic for me as a new NICU nurse (and one who's had an interest in NICU for many years). I have "heard" that in many European countries, for example, the cut-off is not as early as in the U.S.
I've heard that too, which is part of what stemmed my curiosity.
Having worked in global health before nursing, I've also found it interesting how many resources we in the US devote to micros when even late pre-term kids may not survive in lower income countries. I worked in rural Peru, and sometimes little effort was made to resuscitate IUGR and late-preterm kids under the assumption that they'd die from failure to thrive (FTT). These are the kind of kids who in our US NICUs might only require NG feeds for a couple of weeks and a bit of breast milk fortification to be 100% healthy newborns. The FTT kids were always the hardest to see come into the clinic for newborn follow-up appointments, since there really wasn't much we could do for them.
In my first unit, we had a very large population of Hispanic migrant workers who would (legally) come to the US for a few months a year to take seasonal migrant farm work. These families would occasionally have babies in our unit who would require lifelong medical attention, and it was very hard to plan for discharge when they had such inconsistent access to medical care. For instance, we had one craniosynastosis baby who wouldn't eat. We were trying to plan a g-tube insertion, neuro follow-ups and cranial/maxillofacial surgeries; unfortunately, the family had to move from state to state every few weeks during the summer to find farm work, then return to rural Mexico once their work visa expired. In reality, if this baby had been born during the winter months while his family was home in Mexico, he probably would have passed away from dehydration/starvation in his first few days due to poor feeding. It ended up being a very challenging, sad case, and it highlighted the vast disparity in access to newborn care.
Man, this is really making me want to study global neonatal health; it's too bad there are so many obstacles to do so.