Don't Miss: Why Mass. Needs Law On Screening Newborn Oxygen Levels

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When a pediatric cardiologist tells me we need a law requiring hospitals to screen newborns' oxygen levels to detect potentially dangerous heart defects, I listen.

Cardiologist and author Darshak Sanghavi writes on WBUR's Cognoscenti today that the Massachusetts legislature held a hearing last week on making "pulse oximetry tests" for newborns mandatory in the state — as several other states have already done. He writes:

The results have been dramatic. Hours after the law was passed in New Jersey, for example, it saved a newborn’s life.

But Massachusetts, a leader in health care innovation, and home to some of the nation’s best health care centers, hasn’t followed suit. Instead, the state Department of Public Health decided earlier this year the screening shouldn’t be mandatory. They reasoned that doctors and hospitals would do the right thing on their own.

But that’s an incorrect assumption. According to a state-sponsored 2012 survey of Massachusetts birthing facilities, only one-quarter were performing the screening, even though the federal recommendation had been out for almost a year.

Read the full post on Cognoscenti: A Simple Test. Newborn Lives Saved. What's The Holdup?

This program aired on June 11, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.