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First baby of new year needs will of a warrior

Nathan Baker • Jan 2, 2014 at 10:09 AM

The first baby born in the region in the new year will have to fight for survival, so his mother gave him a warrior’s name.

Ronin Naples, born at 2:30 a.m. at the Johnson City Medical Center to Erika Lewis of Abingdon, Va., was 10 weeks premature.

Because of the dangerously early arrival, with the infant’s low birth weight of 2 pounds, 1 ounce, and a length of just over 15 inches, Ronin is currently in the Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit, where he will likely spend the next several weeks until doctors are sure he is strong enough to survive independent of life support machinery.

Lewis said she knew when her child was born so far from her March 15 due date he’d need to be strong, a fighter.

The name she chose originates in feudal Japanese society. “Ronin” was the term for a member of the samurai warrior class who did not have a master, either by his master’s death or by the loss of his master’s favor.

Now resting at the hospital, Lewis hopes her new baby has the strength to survive.

Mountain States Health Alliance spokesperson Teresa Hicks said there were only a few other births in the system Jan. 1, including a few at JCMC and one at Franklin Woods Community Hospital at 9 a.m.

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