June 16, 2013
A bill (S.00270) requiring that hospitals perform a test to find congenital heart defects in newborn infants was passed by the Senate last Wednesday, sending the proposed law to the governor's desk.
The "pulse ox" bill would require that hospitals administer a noninvasive test of oxygen saturation in blood within 24 hours of an infant's birth to check for congenital heart defects.
Dr. Harm Velvis a pediatric cardiologist called the bill a simple and easy life saving test, last Monday at a press conference held by The American Heart Association and parents with children with CHD's.
Kelsey Thomas of Syracuse, along with other parents, shared her story at the press conference. Thomas said after a normal pregnancy and delivery, her son appeared blue to neonatal care nurses and received a pulse ox test. The test indicated a low level of oxygen saturation in his blood and six days after he was born, Jacob received open heart surgery.
"This whole experience was like a vivid dream… If this test had not been performed on our son we would have brought him home from the hospital and he probably would have passed away in his sleep and I would be standing before you today as the parent of a deceased child," said Thomas.
As Alisa Berlin of Gloversville shared her story, she had to stop to wipe tears from her eyes.
Her son Colton's disease, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, was undetected when he was discharged from the hospital. A week later during a check-up visit, Colton began to turn blue. His late diagnosis led to a five-day stay in the hospital before an open heart surgery was performed.
"We could have lost our son that day," said Berlin. "If Colton had pulse ox testing this could have been avoided."
The bill passed the Assembly in May.