Why Pulse Ox is so Important


The Pulse Ox Bill is moving! The Committee of Public Health reported out the bill this week, which is a great first step! I know sometimes it can get lost in the process why we are fighting so hard for Pulse Ox, I believe Alex's story reminds us why this bill is so important. 

After a normal pregnancy, Alex was born at 40 weeks via c-section. Everything seemed fine; he nursed and spent a couple of hours with the family after returning to the room. Alex was taken to the nursery for his immunizations and to get cleaned up, but after 3 hours he still was not back with the family. Finally a man who introduced himself as the pediatrician came in and sat down. He said there was a problem. He explained that a nurse was getting him dressed to come back to our room and noticed that his nail beds were turning blue, so she checked his oxygen level, and it was in the 50’s. Jodi, the mom, not having any idea what he was talking about, told him that both her and her husband have had asthma since childhood. He assured me that was not the problem and that they felt it was a problem with his heart. After a brief amount of time and an Echocardiogram, it was determined that Alex had Tricuspid Atresia with Pulmonary Atresia. He had to immediately be placed on a medication to keep a valve open until he was able to have his first open-heart surgery at 5 days old. He had his second open-heart surgery when he was 4 months old in November 2011 and he will have his third open-heart by the end of this summer.  Jodi says, “I cannot imagine how different our lives would be if that astute nurse had not noticed the change in his color and if his oxygen level was not checked. Alex was not delivered at a hospital that conducted routine pulse ox checks prior to discharge, so he likely would have been discharged home and would have died within a few days.” Alex is now two years old and developing right on track. He is walking, running, talking, eating, laughing and trying to toilet train himself!  He loves to read and play with his big sister Nina. Jodi has been fighting with us to ensure that all newborns are screened for Critical Congenital Heart Defect.

 Alex’s story is the reason I will continue to fight for pulse ox in Massachusetts, will you join me?


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