Great news for congenital heart defect advocates! On Thursday, September 26th You’re the Cure and March of Dimes advocate Joye Mullis testified in front of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families about the importance of pulse oximetry screening for all newborns.
Joye knows the importance of this screening first hand. As soon as her son Ethan was born, a quick thinking nurse detected something wrong and suggested he undergo a pulse oximetry test. This quick and painless test revealed that Ethan had a pulmonary atresia with a ventricular septal defect and needed extra care. After many months in the hospital, Ethan is a now a healthy boy, but his outcome could have been different if he was not screened.
Joye joined witnesses from other organizations pressuring the Senate to pass the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, which helps states with their newborn screening programs. The legislation is sponsored in the Senate by Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Orrin Hatch (R -UT) and still needs to pass the Senate before moving to the House.
In addition to support at the federal level, many states around the country have required hospitals to screen newborns for congenital heart defects. With one in one-hundred newborns having a heart defect, quick and painless tests like pulse oximetry are crucial in detecting these conditions.