September is newborn screening awareness month across the United States. Nearly every newborn is screened for some conditions, and as a result of newborn screening, each year about 5,000 babies are identified as having a health condition. Often with early treatment, these children live full and healthy lives. One type of newborn screening involves blood drawn at the hospital after birth, and parents need to know that the process is potentially life-saving.
I became involved in newborn screening advocacy with the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation, a national newborn screening advocacy group, after my son Isaac’s newborn screening showed abnormalities in June of this year. The UT Genetic Center contacted me when he was a week old, and later that day he suddenly became very sick. We took him to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital that night, and precious time & his life were saved because we already had a potential diagnosis. Classical galactosemia was later confirmed through additional testing, but now at 11 weeks old, he is healthy with hopefully a long life ahead of him.
More can be learned about the impact and benefits of newborn screening by visiting the SBTS website at SaveBabies.org.