Boy Survives With Heart Outside Body, Parents Rejected Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 20, 2012   |   7:53PM   |   London, England

After his parents rejected an offer from doctors for an abortion, Ryan Marquiss was born with his heart outside of his body. Although physicians didn’t expect him to survive, the London Daily Mail newspaper reports today that Ryan is surviving this unique circumstance.
From the story:

It is an incredibly rare condition and usually babies are stillborn or die within three days. His heart also hadn’t developed and so he only had half a heart – a combination of defects which is so rare that Ryan is the only one of his kind in the world.

Doctors advised his devastated parents to terminate the pregnancy when his mother was just 12 weeks pregnant, but they bravely refused. And it is a gamble that has paid off, as Ryan is just about to celebrate his third birthday.

Mrs Marquiss, 34, said: ‘We wanted to let nature take its course, so we refused to have the termination.

‘We knew it would be a miracle if he survived the birth but we were unwilling to take matters into our own hands.

‘The doctors told us that no baby with Ryan’s combination of defects had ever survived, so the fact that he is here with us today, is just amazing. He really has astounded everyone.’

Doctors discovered the problem at 12 weeks into his mother’s pregnancy.

The incredibly rare defect, ectopia cordis, affects only eight in every million births and ninety percent of these are stillborn or die within three days.

And adding to that Ryan was also suffering from hypoplastic right heart syndrome, where only the left side of the heart has developed properly.

Mrs Marquiss, who lives with husband Henry, 34, and their other children Natalie, seven, and Ainsley, five, in Pennsylvania, USA, said: ‘All the odds were stacked against him. We knew that it was a miracle that he had been born alive with his heart outside his body, but then to have another life-threatening condition of only having half a heart meant that everything was against him surviving.’

Read the full report here.