Leach Praises General Assembly on Passage of Oximetry Testing Bill for Newborns

HARRISBURG – Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) has issued the following statement in favor of H.B. 1420, critical legislation which would require pulse oximetry testing for newborns, after this week’s unanimous concurrence vote by the House.

“As the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 545, the Senate companion bill, I have been invested in advocating for newborn heart screening for years and I am pleased to see this bill pass both legislative chambers,” Leach said.

“In July of 2011, I introduced my first bill (S.B. 1202) addressing this issue after meeting with families from my district.”

In the United States, seven out of every 1,000 babies born are affected by congenital heart disease (CHD). This weakening, absence or abnormality of the heart walls can be life threatening if it is not detected and treated early in a newborns life. Congenital heart disease is the leading cause of infant death due to birth defect.

“By requiring our hospitals and birthing centers to provide this simple screening at birth and within 24 hours, we will save lives. The effects of CHD are devastating and can wrench a child from an unsuspecting family before there are any signs of medical trouble,” Leach said.

“The best opportunity to address this problem is at birth with pulse oximetry screening. I applaud the General Assembly for moving this bill forward and I look forward to the governor signing this critical legislation into law.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology have called for testing using pulse oximetry monitoring to measure the level of oxygen saturation in the blood of newborns that may otherwise appear healthy.

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