Viagra Saves Premature Baby's Life

ByABC News via logo
February 16, 2007, 7:31 AM

Feb. 16, 2007 — -- Lewis Goodfellow was not an obvious candidate for the "little blue pill," but Viagra may have saved his life.

Lewis was born premature last August, weighing only 1 pound, 8 ounces, and had a heart defect and collapsed lung.

Doctors didn't expect the baby to survive, and his teen mother began making plans for a funeral.

"The Viagra was suggested when doctors had run out of everything else," said Lewis' mom, Jade Goodfellow. "Lewis couldn't be given any more oxygen. There was nothing else they could do. They were just clutching at straws, basically."

Viagra helped open up tiny blood vessels in Lewis' lungs so blood could pump away from the lungs and toward the rest of the body -- similar to the way it works for impotent men.

"What we see is the baby becomes pinker and needs less help with its breathing," neonatologist Alan Fenton said.

Little Lewis still needs oxygen 24 hours a day, but he's now off the drug and doing well.

"They explained that it was experimental, and that it may not have any effect at all," Goodfellow said. "But basically, it was a last resort."

Lewis' parents are calling that "last resort" a miracle.