Pulse Ox Saves Another Baby...It's Time for Rhode Island to Act


The headline says it all, “The Simple Test That Saved My Baby.”  In a recently published op-ed in the New York Times, a new dad shares how pulse oximetry screening saved his seemingly healthy newborn baby boy by detecting a heart defect before leaving the hospital.  The baby was quickly transferred for heart surgery.  

In his op-ed, author Michael Grabell notes, “as many as 1,500 babies leave American hospitals each year with undetected critical congenital heart defects, the C.D.C. has estimated.  Typically, these babies turn blue and struggle to breathe within the first few weeks of life. They are taken to hospitals, often in poor condition, making it harder to operate on them. By then, they may have suffered significant damage to the heart or brain. Researchers estimate that dozens of babies die each year because of undiagnosed heart problems.”  

Pulse Ox is a simple and non-invasive test that could help identify more than 90 percent of heart defects before a newborn leaves the hospital.

“The patchy adoption of the heart screening, known as the pulse oximetry test, highlights larger questions about public health and why good ideas in medicine take so long to spread and when we should legislate clinical practice,” Mr. Grabell states.  

“Newborns are already screened for hearing loss and dozens of disorders using blood drawn from the heel. The heart test is even less invasive: light sensors attached to the hand and foot measure oxygen levels in the baby’s blood. This can cost as little as 52 cents per child,” he continues.  

21 states require pulse ox screening for newborns – it’s time for Rhode Island to join the list!  Click the following link to send an email to Governor Chafee today: http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=33676

To read Michael Grabell’s op-ed, please click the following link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/opinion/sunday/the-simple-test-that-saved-my-baby.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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