Home Government New law mandates testing for birth defects

New law mandates testing for birth defects

A new state health law that went into effect Monday requires every newborn receive a non-invasive screening before being discharged from the hospital.

The new law requires physicians to administer the pulse oximetry screening test, which measures oxygen levels in the blood stream and helps detect birth defects. The Pulse Ox act was signed into law last August by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

Nearly one in 100 infants born each year have a congenital heart defect, according to the American Heart Association. The pulse oximetry screening is estimated to help identify more than 90 percent of heart defects.

“My daughter, Samantha, was born with an undiagnosed congenital heart defect and died six weeks after birth from cardiac arrest,” said Patti Stone, a Rockland County resident and volunteer with the association. “With treatment advances made possible by research, children born with CHD (congenital heart defect) have a greater chance than ever to live and thrive.”

American Heart Association spokeswoman Carolyn Torella said the new law is a “victory for the smallest hearts in our state.”

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