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September Is Newborn Screening Awareness Month

September is Newborn Screening Awareness Month. As San Diego birth injury attorneys, we want all new and expecting parents to understand how important these tests can be, even if your infant appears healthy.

Newborn screenings are extremely important because some conditions are not apparent just by looking. In most hospitals, newborn screenings consist of a blood test and hearing screening. Many facilities now also screen for critical congenital heart defects.

Early detection can help with the diagnosis and treatment of certain illnesses. Conversely, failing to detect these conditions can lead to serious problems, such as brain damage, organ damage, and even death.

As highlighted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), newborn blood tests assess whether the baby’s body can process phenylalanine, which can be found most foods. In babies with phenylketonuria (PKU), the amino acids can build up in the blood and tissues, resulting in brain damage. However, the condition can be prevented if a baby with PKU is put on a special diet early in life.

The CDC also cites hypothyroidism as an example of the importance of newborn screening. If infants do not make enough thyroid hormone, they need hormone medication. Without treatment, they can suffer from slowed growth and brain damage.

Given the importance of these tests, San Diego parents should check to see that their newborn is screened before leaving the hospital. It is also important to verify that the hospital provides all of the tests results to the baby’s pediatrician.

If your child or someone you love has suffered a birth injury, don’t hesitate to contacta San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.