Doctor Said Bentley Wouldn’t Survive Birth, Should be Aborted. 10 Months On He’s Still Fighting

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Sep 6, 2016   |   5:46PM   |   Washington, DC

It’s been more than a year since Sierra and Dustin Yoder were advised to abort their unborn son because of a potentially fatal brain disorder. The Ohio family refused, and today their son Bentley is still alive and fighting.

Bentley, or “Beni,” is 10 months old and doing better than doctors expected, according to the Times Reporter. After a recent surgery, the little boy and his family are expected to head home from the hospital sometime this week.

Initially, doctors predicted that Beni would not survive birth. The little boy has a brain disorder called encephalocele, where the brain grows through a soft opening of the skull. Because there was very little chance of survival after birth, the Sugarcreek, Ohio couple said they scheduled an abortion. However, Sierra had a sudden change of heart.

She explained to The Washington Post: “The night before the procedure, I told Dustin I couldn’t do it. He had a big sigh of relief. He was very happy.”

The Yoders said at the time that they wanted to spend as much time with their baby as possible and say goodbye – but they have not had to. When Bentley was born, he surprised everyone by moving and screaming. Ten months later, he continues to defy predictions.

Here’s more from the report:

Beni underwent precedent-setting surgery in May at Boston Children’s Hospital, where fluid was removed, the back of the skull was elongated and much of the brain was gently pushed back into the skull. He subsequently had the shunt placed in his brain because of swelling, and also has been hospitalized for respiratory issues, but each time he comes out smiling.

Beni was born full term despite many doctors’ predictions that he would not survive birth or would live in a vegetative state. Several specialists had urged the couple to have an abortion, but Sierra, who felt their little one kicking inside the womb, and Dustin chose to carry the birth to full term.

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The little warrior, as he is called by Facebook friends and family, is somewhat of a medical miracle, meeting many milestones although he may require more surgeries.

Last week, when Sierra became increasingly concerned about a lump on the back of Beni’s head, the Yoders took him to Boston Children’s Hospital. There doctors discovered a full blockage of the shunt on his brain, and performed surgery to remove the blockage, according to the report.

The Yoders said Beni’s condition has improved greatly since doctors removed the blockage, and he could go home this week.

“Boston’s Children Hospital did it again for our little guy,” Sierra wrote Friday on his Facebook page, #prayersforbentley. “Shunt was completely blocked, like we thought from the beginning. They fixed it up, no problems or complications at all.”

His mother said Beni still is struggling with respiratory issues and had a chest x-ray; but she remains hopeful.

“They suspect that his seizures, respiratory issues and everything all had to do with the shunt problem so we are all hoping that everything will start to get better as the shunt starts working again,” his mother wrote. “He is sedated, stable and resting comfortably now. Mommy and daddy are camping out in his room tonight to keep him company.”