Legislation will save lives

The state Legislature passed an excellent bill this session that could save the lives of newborns: The Pulse Ox Bill. This bill only needs Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature to put it into law.

Such a law would make sure that every newborn receives a pulse oximetry test, a simple, noninvasive test that measures the level of oxygen in a baby’s bloodstream. A low oxygen level could be an indication of a congenital heart defect, the No. 1 birth defect. One in 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect.

Our son Colton is one of those children. We brought him home from the hospital thinking he was perfectly healthy. At his one-week well-baby checkup, he began to turn blue and was rushed to the emergency room. Today, he’s a happy and healthy 23-month old – who had two open heart surgeries to repair his congenital heart defect.

But what if he had turned blue in the night? What if we had been far from an emergency room? Our son might not have survived. Pulse oximetry will help to detect these defects before such traumatic events can happen.

I am glad to have joined the American Heart Association and other families at the New York Capitol recently to urge the state Senate to pass the bill. Our children wore their red “Heart Hero” capes while petitioning for the passage of this law, and I can only hope that soon, we are putting those capes back on our children to join Gov. Cuomo as he signs the Pulse Ox bill into law. Every day without this law enacted means another life lost.