Guest Blogger: Marc Watterson, Gov. Relations Director, Utah
The most rewarding aspect of my job is working on influential legislation in behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Utahan’s who struggle with cardiovascular disease and stroke each day. As volunteers and staff, each of us shares a connection with a loved one that suffers from the effects of these terrible diseases and heart defects. It is our honor to work in behalf of them to enact policies that will save lives.
When our Advocacy Team took on the task of advocating to help pass pulse oximetry screening legislation nationwide, I had no idea the immediate impact that this would have on the lives of newborns, families and the nation. Critical congenital heart defects are the leading birth defects affecting newborns in the United States, but early detection via pulse oximetry and early treatment can make all the difference between life and death.
Ten days after the implementation (July 1st, 2013) of pulse oximetry screening in early states like California and Connecticut, I read the story about Michael Grabell’s child who was born with a critical congenital heart defect in a Connecticut hospital. Please find his moving story here. Stories like this are one of the many reasons why I am so passionate about ensuring that pulse oximetry screening is effectively implemented in Utah in the coming months.
Receiving a relatively inexpensive, simple test should not have to be dependent upon the location for new parents to be. As of today, hospitals in Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Hawaii, Washington, and many more states still do not require pulse oximetry screening at the time of birth of a newborn. Imagine how many newborn lives we can save if every state in the nation implemented pulse oximetry screening to their newborn screening panels.
So, as we journey together to advocate for policies here in the state, let’s continue to remember the importance of our life saving mission and cause. Together we will advocate for heart saving legislation and medical breakthroughs! Together, WE are the Cure!