In December 2013, Jett Morris was born at 25-weeks weighing 1.4lbs, which is less than a bag of sugar. Amazingly, he survived in the womb after his mother’s water broke at 20-weeks due to preterm premature rupture of membranes. However, prior to Jett’s birth, his parents were told to have an abortion because there was no way he would survive.
Doctors at East Surrey Hospital in England told Mhairi and Paul Morris that their son was “non-viable” and inferred that they were wasting their time by holding off on abortion.
Mrs. Morris told the Daily Mail, “They didn’t see him as a child yet, they just called him a ‘non-viable fetus’. It was cold and I was devastated. I was in the early pregnancy unit and no one from pediatrics came to talk to me about my other options. But I’d just had a 20-week scan and everything was perfect and finding out it was a boy made it very hard to accept a termination. The doctor said ‘we’re going to get you into theatre. You have to have a termination because there’s nothing we can do’.”
Thankfully, the Morris’ refused abortion despite the intense pressure from doctors. Mrs. Morris said, “I understand doctors have to tell you the worst case scenario and be blunt, but no two people on this Earth are exactly the same and doctors didn’t even give Jett a chance.” When Mrs. Morris told the doctor she wasn’t having an abortion, he rolled his eyes at her as if she were wasting her time. Mrs. Morris said to her husband ‘we have to get out of here’.”
Although Jett struggled with chronic lung disease and jaundice after his birth, he is now a healthy one-year old. He was allowed to go home with his parents on March 5th, nearly three weeks before his original due date. Mrs. Morris said, “We have a happy outcome but I worry that other mothers could have had an abortion when their babies might have survived. I was given such a bleak outlook that I kept thinking “he’s not supposed to be healthy” and was waiting for something to happen, but it never did.”
The Morris’ filed a complaint against the hospital and Michael Wilson, the Chief Executive at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, is trying to resolve their concerns. He said, “From June 2013, while Mhairi was with us, it’s our opinion that she received high quality clinical care and was provided with information about the range of options available to her in her circumstances, as well as having these options discussed in detail. The team who cared for her pulled out all stops to keep both her and her child safe throughout her high-risk pregnancy and following this, we transferred her to a more specialist hospital so that she received the best possible care for her condition.
Wilson concluded, “We are delighted that over a year on, both mother and son are healthy and well. As a Trust, we strive to learn from all the feedback we receive from our patients to continually improve our service. We have only very recently learned of her concerns as no complaints were raised earlier – had they been, we would have been in touch with her directly and looked into what had taken place. We are now working closely with her and her family to understand what happened in detail.”