Couple almost aborted their healthy baby after private medical center wrongly diagnosed a 'missed miscarriage'
The couple were given the devastating news that Susanna had suffered a ‘missed miscarriage’ - when the mother’s body fails to recognise the baby has died in the womb - at six weeks
Little Riley Williams is a healthy baby girl adored by her doting parents, but she was close to being aborted when a doctor at a private clinic told her parents, Ben and Susana, that she had died in the early weeks of her conception.
According to the doctor, Susanna had suffered a "missed miscarriage" at a tender six weeks. A missed miscarriage is a condition when the mother's body fails to recognize that the fetus has died in the womb.
The couple was shocked upon hearing the news and had to make the difficult choice of either having an "induced" miscarriage to remove the supposed dead baby from the womb, or to let the mother miscarry naturally.
However, after almost a week of the heart-wrenching news, another scan revealed that the fetus was, in fact, very much alive and healthy.
Although the couple celebrated the joyous news, they couldn't help but voice their anger at the doctor whose error could have killed their baby.
In a conversation with Daily Mail on Sunday, 32-year-old Susanna said: "Every time I look at Riley, 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."
That said, Susanna was nervous after having suffered a miscarriage previously.
"I had miscarried before in 2014 at eight weeks, so I thought, 'Let’s check it out, and put my mind at ease.'"
Susanna couldn't wait for the 12-week ultrasound scan given by NHS to expecting mothers and so opted to try the private Window To the Womb clinic in Chessington, South West London.
"It had decent reviews and did scans from six weeks," she said.
Both Ben and Susanna arrived at the clinic, excited to hear the news. However, when the clinic’s sonographer Dr. Ashish Sharma began the scan, things took an ugly turn.
"He went quiet. and I asked, 'Can’t you see anything?'" said Susanna. "He said, 'Don’t worry. We’ll do an internal scan because we can get more detail that way.' "
After completing the scan, the doctor reportedly told them: "Unfortunately, your baby stopped growing at six weeks. You are actually eight weeks’ pregnant, not seven as you thought. But there is no fetal heartbeat."
Dr. Sharma said the couple must decide whether they would have the induced miscarriage procedure (also called D&C) or let nature take its course.
According to the couple, he never suggested doing a second scan to confirm the baby's situation.
While Susanna reluctantly elected to do a D&C, a nurse at Kingston Hospital advised her to wait for at least a week before going ahead with the procedure. Hospital authorities then decided to do a scan themselves.
Susanna recalled telling Ben the night before the scan: "I don’t feel ready to say goodbye to this pregnancy. I still feel very pregnant but I know I’ve got to stop thinking like this."
A couple of hours later, the hospital sonographer told them: "I’ve got some good news for you. There’s your baby – and that’s your baby’s heartbeat."
But the couple were still cautious, owing to their prior experience.
"I thought it still might go wrong," said Susanna. "I only began to relax after the 20-week scan."
Finally, little Riley, a healthy baby girl, was born in May.
The 36-year-old father later called Dr. Sharma to tell him of the mistake. "But when I talked to him, there was no apology," he said. "Instead, he said, 'I’m really happy it worked out for you.'"
Having said that, Window To The Womb extended a "sincere apology" last night to the couple for the mistake and congratulated them on the diagnosis.
"We recognize that we failed on this occasion," a spokeswoman said, adding that additional training methods had been incorporated since the incident.