'Miracle baby' survives despite huge odds

Ryan Marquiss is a true miracle baby. He is about to turn 2-years-old and he may be the first child on record to survive with his combination of heart problems.


Just 12 weeks after being conceived, Ryan was diagnosed with a serious heart defect. Ryan has a condition called ectopia cordis. His heart growing outside his chest. And only one ventricle is functioning.

Before he was born, numerous doctors told Ryan’s parents, Henry and Leighann Marquiss, to expect a miscarriage.

“I remember them saying that Ryan wasn't going to live and I didn't hear anything else,” Leighann Marquiss said.

A team of doctors from Children’s National Medical Center decided to fight for Ryan’s life. Defeating all odds, Ryan survived.

“Survival for patients with ectopia cordis and a heart lesion is almost zero percent,” said Dr. Richard Levy, a pediatric anesthesiologist.

Since then, Ryan has had numerous surgeries and procedures – including a process to stretch his skin to cover his heart.

Doctors said Ryan’s heart is progressing well. But he has a tough battle ahead.

Doctors plan to eventually close Ryan’s breast bone to protect his heart – and one day he might require a heart transplant.

But for now, doctors are thrilled with this miracle baby’s progress. And despite all he’s been through, Ryan is rarely seen without a smile.

“Ryan is one of a kind,” Leighann Marquiss said. “He's a miracle you know.”

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