Guest Blogger: Stephanie Tama-Sweet, Oregon Government Relations Director
Last week was a big week for Oregon babies! SB 172, a bill which will ensure all newborns in Oregon receive a pulse oximetry test before they leave the hospital, was signed into law by Governor Kitzhaber. Pulse oximetry tests screen for congenital heart defects, the number one birth defect and the number one cause of death in the first year of life.
I had the privilege of celebrating this win with State Representative Sherrie Sprenger and fifth-graders Libby Bundy and Rachel Whisman. Representative Sprenger and I joined these young advocates at their school to thank them for their work on the bill and present them with 'Heart Hero' awards.
Rachel and Libby have been friends since pre-school and have worked to raise awareness of heart disease. Rachel was born with a heart defect that went undetected. She has had significant complications that could have been greatly reduced had she received a pulse ox test. Libby raised over $5,000 this year to raise awareness of heart disease and joined us at Oregon’s State Lobby Day to urge legislators to support the pulse ox bill. The efforts of these girls and advocates across the state have made a huge difference by helping to give all Oregon babies a healthy start at life.