NRL News

Mother ignores doctor’s advice to abort son, Ryan continues to pass developmental milestones two years after birth

by | Dec 12, 2013


By Dave Andrusko

Ryan was in the hospital for a year before medical staff allowed Ms Williams (pictured with Ryan) to take him home

Ryan was in the hospital for a year before medical staff allowed Ms Williams (pictured with Ryan) to take him home

From the doctors’ perspective, perhaps they believed they were doing the “best” for everyone when they advised Natasha Williams to abort her unborn baby after a scan at 20 weeks diagnosed him with Ellis-van Creveld syndrome–a bone growth disorder. The 26-year-old Williams was told her unborn son’s body “would probably not develop sufficiently to support his organs,” Emma Innes of the British newspaper The Daily Mail wrote today.

“When the doctor said I should think about termination, I wasn’t surprised,” Williams told Innes. “I had a feeling they would raise that as an option.” Not only that, she was told they only had a weekend to decide.

“But I’d already made up my mind that Ryan deserved a chance,” Williams said. “If he was going to pass away, I wanted him to go on his own terms. It didn’t seem right to make that decision for him, before he’d had a chance at life.’”

Ryan, who was born with 12 fingers and 12 toes, was delivered by emergency caesarean section on Christmas Day 2011. But that was just the first phase.

It would be a year before Williams could take Ryan home. During the time in the hospital, Ryan was fitted with tubes to allow him to breathe and digest food. He also underwent an operation on his heart and required round-the-clock ventilation.

(Innes reported that Ellis-van Creveld syndrome is associated with dwarfism, extra fingers and toes, and heart problems.)

But Ryan continues to pass developmental milestones that Williams was told would be beyond him. For example, he sat up for the first time in St Michael’s Hospital and no longer requires constant ventilation.

“He walked for the first time just a couple of days ago,” Williams said. “I cried when I saw it. Of all the things that doctors said Ryan would never be able to do, I was sure they were right about walking.” When Ryan started to walk, Williams said it was “as if he decided it was easy. It was amazing.”

Ryan will have surgery on both hands to remove a finger, “but his feet will probably stay as they are because correction is not a priority,” Williams said.

“Ryan’s a gift,” she added. “His differences just make him all the more special.”