Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-Hudson) today praised the effectiveness of New Jersey’s first-in-the-nation, life-saving infant heart testing law, which was highlighted today when Governor Christie visited a Newton family whose newborn son was the first in the state saved by the law when he was born a day after it went into effect.
O’Donnell was the lead sponsor of the law (A-3744/S-2752), the first of its kind to pass on a national scale, mandating pulse ox testing, a simple, non-invasive, low-cost measure to help detect the most common birth defect – congenital heart disease – in newborns.
“The fact that the Gordons’ child was saved by this test only one day after the law went into effect underscores the critical importance of this procedure. When we sent the bill to the Governor in late April, we knew that time was of the essence in getting it signed. Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are responsible for one third of all birth defect-related deaths and, sadly, 20 percent of children who make it through birth will not survive past their first birthday.
“As the father of a child was born with a CHD, I cannot tell you how relieved I was when the Governor finally signed the law in early June because now every newborn will have a fighting chance. I am overwhelmed with joy for the Gordon family and the many others who have been and will be saved by this law,” said O’Donnell.
O’Donnell noted that CHDs are the most common birth defects in newborns and affect about one out of every 100 babies, according to the Children’s Heart Foundation. CHD is also the number one cause of birth defect-related deaths in the United States, according to the March of Dimes. Failing to detect critical CHD prior to letting a child go home can lead to life-threatening events, including cardiogenic shock and organ failure.
New Jersey’s new law requires the pulse ox test to be performed on newborns who are at least 24 hours old. TLS.