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Pulse oximeter on newborn's foot

Mary E. Mannix's picture

On July 3, 2014 Governor Tom Corbett signed HB 1420 into law creating Act 94 of 2014.

In layman's terms: In October 2014, all babies born in Pennsylvania birthing facilities will be required to be screened for critical congenital heart defects via pulse oximetry.

Congenital heart defects impact one of every 100 births and vary in severity. Since the defect is deep inside the child, it is often hard to tell before the child leaves the hospital that a preventable tragedy is brewing. Pulse oximetry screening - a simple, quick, inexpensive, non-invasive test helps. In all specialties, pulse oximetry is beginning to commonly be referred by clinicians as the sixth vital sign.

Pennsylvania has been working diligently on this issue for the safety of its youngest. Legislation was first introduced in 2011 by Sen Daylin Leach HB 545. In the three years that the companion bill sat in a Senate Committee, there were babies that died unnecessarily. Their parents and clinicians did not know the child had an undiagnosed heart defect.

If you are expecting to deliver a newborn in Pennsylvania between now and October 1, 2014 you can still ask for a pluse ox screen. Many hospitals have been implementing this test. However, many are not. Either way - you can (and should) ASK for a "pulse ox screen for congenital heart defects on the baby after 24 hours of life and before discharge".

This is different than the "car seat test".

You can download a simple card to help you remember here:
It is a minute that could save your baby's life.

Help your doctors and nurses help your babies.

Please ask for a pulse ox screen today.

Share this post with your friend, family, co-worker in Pennsylvania who is pregnant.

Thank you!
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