A baby girl born two months prematurely and weighing less than 14 ounces was in critical condition yesterday and fighting for her life. She apparently is one of the smallest premature infants ever to survive in the United States, hospital officials say.

Devon Somerville is "only a handful" three days after birth, says nurses at City Hospitals here. The infant measures just over 11 1/2 inches and weighs 15 ounces, "but that's with 1 ounces of equipment on her. Her actual weight is under 14 ounces," said a nursing supervisor.

Dr. Rupla Eshai said statistics show few babies as premature as Somerville, who was born after 26 to 28 weeks of gestation, live more than a few days.

"The baby is alive, but still in very critical condition," she said. "It is difficult to say what the baby will do over the next 24 hours. The first issue is, is the baby going to live or not? There is over 95 percent mentality rate for babies this small."

Eshai said the infant is attached to a respirator because her lungs are not capable of breathing, has had three blood transfusions for treatment of jaundice and is on antibiotics to ward off viruses.