If it had not been for a second look at an ultrasound, the Williams family could have aborted their healthy daughter.
According to Daily Mail, Susanna and Ben Williams were happily expecting their second child when they decided to get an ultrasound. Susanna already had experienced a miscarriage at eight weeks in 2014, so the British mom wanted to be sure her child was doing well.
The National Health Service in England offers expectant mothers ultrasound scans starting at 12 weeks of pregnancy, but the couple wanted an earlier look, so they went to a private clinic called Windows to the Womb in South West London, which performs scans starting at six weeks.
At the clinic, sonographer Dr. Ashish Sharma began to perform the scan when he fell silent, not sharing information with the couple, according to the report. Susanna Williams said she asked the doctor if he could see anything, to which Sharma replied that he would perform an internal scan for a better look.
After the internal scan, Sharma told the expecting couple their child stopped growing at six weeks and there was no heartbeat, even though Susanna was eight weeks pregnant, the couple said.
He continued to explain to the couple that they had experienced a “missed miscarriage,” when the mother’s body fails to recognize that the child has died in the womb, according to the report.
The couple said Sharma suggested they go to the nearby Kingston NHS Hospital to discuss whether they should let their unborn child naturally pass or have an induced D&C abortion. The one thing the doctor failed to suggest was a second ultrasound to confirm his grim diagnosis, the report states.
The devastated couple weighed their options, and Susanna said she was leaning toward a D&C. When the Williamses consulted the Kingston Hospital, they said a nurse advised Susanna to wait a week because the pregnancy was not advanced.
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As they waited, Susanna felt uneasy about undergoing the abortion procedure, saying she was not “ready to say goodbye to the pregnancy,” and also still felt “very pregnant.”
The next day, she underwent the scan, and to their surprise, the Kingston Hospital sonographer showed them that their unborn baby was very much alive in the womb, heartbeat and all, the couple said.
They were overjoyed, yet still cautious, and had a third ultrasound at 20 weeks, where they confirmed their child was alive. Their daughter, Riley, was born safe and well in May.
Despite this joy, the Williamses said they felt furious that Sharma had given them completely inaccurate information about their child. They said they called the doctor to tell him the news of their healthy child, and he was congratulatory but did not apologize for his grave error.
The clinic, Windows to the Womb, “sincerely apologized” to the couple. A spokeswoman for the clinic also noted that they scanned more than 100,000 pregnant women a year and the Williamses’ experience was “an isolated incident.” The clinic recently introduced more training for its employees.
“Every time I look at Riley,” Susanna said, “I can’t help think how she might not have made it…We could have got rid of her. And I fear other couples might have aborted healthy babies after being given wrong information at private scanning clinics.”