Nov. 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM ET
On Friday, Dr. Jennifer Percy delivered two baby boys. When she returned to her Minneapolis hospital on Sunday, she delivered five more boys.
“I was busy over the weekend. I didn’t know it was a record,” Percy says. “I don’t always keep track, but I did say to a patient on Sunday, ‘You know you’re the fourth boy in a row’ and one of the nurses said ‘We actually had 17 boys in a row.’”
One right after another, the boys filled up the nursery. Not a girl in sight.
From 5 p.m. on Friday, November 23 until 7:15 a.m. on Monday, November 26, doctors and midwives at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview delivered 19 boys in a row. A baby girl named Ladan broke the streak when she was born at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. The 19 boys’ combined weight is about 115 pounds and if babies lined up end to end, they’d be 363 inches long.
“I hadn’t heard of this ever happening,” says Dr. Nicole Chassion, who delivered two baby boys on Saturday morning. “[It’s] kind of fun to be part of something that is kind of interesting.”
So what are the chances of 19 boys being born in a row? About one in 524,288, according to Tom Griffiths.
“It is an unlikely event, but given many opportunities, unlikely events occur all the time,” says Griffiths, director of the Computational Cognitive Science Lab and the Institute of Cognitive Brain Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, who has examined birthday coincidences and chance.
“I suspect that this kind of thing happens and [hospitals] just don’t happen to notice they are all consecutive,” says Lawrence Gray, a professor of math at the University of Minnesota. “Unusual things happen all the time; most of them go unnoticed, occasionally they get noticed. We may give them more significance.”
Griffiths agrees that a run of boys is within statistical possibilities: “I haven’t heard of it occurring before [but] it should happen every now and again.”
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