Pulse Oximetry Screening for Newborns
In 2011 Representative Andy Welch, R-McDonough, attempted to get a bill passed requiring pulse oximetry screening for newborns in Georgia hospitals. This screening will help expectant parents know if their child has a heart defect before it’s born. The screening only takes a minute and there is no pain involved for the infant.
Welch was contacted by Jessica Hatcher who’s son, Wyatt, was born with a heart defect in 2008. After a transplant in 2010 Wyatt is doing well. The March of Dimes reports that heart defects are the most common form of birth defects in newborns as well as birth defect deaths.
Despite the fact that Welch was unsuccessful in getting the bill passed he was able to introduce a bill requiring the Department of Public Heath to study pulse oximetry screening as a way to determine if a newborn will be affected with this birth defect.
The House and Senate passed the bill and the Department of Public Health agreed to move forward with the study without the legislation. The screening is scheduled to start by July 1, 2014 with all hospitals implementing the screening by 2015.
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