Worcester Standard - Mum's plea for screening tests on newborns

A MUM of two whose daughter is facing open heart surgery has urged health chiefs to introduce a potentially life-saving screening test on all newborn babies.

Joanna Dobson, from Warndon Villages, is pushing for the Pulse Oximetry test – which measures oxygen levels in the blood – to become a standard procedure in delivery suites across the country.

The 35-year-old’s plea comes after the simple procedure detected a life-threating heart defect in her daughter, Imogen, when she was just three weeks old.

Her health visitor carried out the test after Mrs Dobson became increasingly concerned about Imogen’s weight and heart rate.

She was then taken for further tests at Worcestershire Royal Hospital where Mrs Dobson, along with her husband Paul, 41, and three-year-old daughter, Lexi, were given the devastating news.

“It was a massive shock as we had come home on such a high with the new baby and then all of a sudden we were back in hospital with a really poorly baby,” she said.

“When the doctor came in and told us the news I pretty much spent the next 24 hours crying as I could not take it in.”

Imogen is set to undergo open heart surgery within the next few weeks.

Mrs Dobson is now rallying behind a campaign by The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) for a national Pulse Oximetry screening programme to ensure all newborns have the test.

CHF point to evidence which shows about three quarters of defects can be detected by the procedure.

Mrs Dobson has signed a petition in support of the move which has already attracted nearly 2,000 signatures.

“We were quite lucky as we had really good health visitors but others might bring their baby home and suddenly that’s it – they are either seriously unwell or don’t make it,” Mrs Dobson added.

“As far as I know, 75 per cent more heart defects could be picked up, so it is a no-brainer.

“It would save lives and also a lot of worry for parents.”

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