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Pulse Ox Screening Saves Baby From the Unexpected

  • When Shannon Smith went in for her scheduled C-section she thought she had little to worry about other than the pain of that awful needle for the anesthetic.  Her husband was with her, she felt confidence in her OB doctor, and assumed everything would be okay.  This was her second pregnancy and her second C-section, and she knew what to expect.

    They named her Sydnie Lyn.  While Shannon was still strapped to the operating table, the staff brought Sydnie in to show them she was fine and then they whisked her back outside.  Time went by.  Then a doctor came in and told them that their newborn was critical and had very low oxygen levels.  She had to be transported to another facility for the surgery she needed. 

    When the Smiths saw their baby again, she looked so tiny and frail.  It was hard seeing her that way, but also, they realized, a miracle that she was with them.  Since that time, she has had three open heart surgeries and numerous medical procedures related to her heart condition.  Today, she is a precocious eight year old, who loves being the center of attention. 

     Because the hospital Shannon and her husband chose used Pulse Oximetry screening, their daughter’s critical congenital heart defects (CHD) were detected.  Her life was saved in part, due to that screening and to the staff who knew to test her.  The test is so simple her parents pack a Pulse Ox meter in Sydnie’s book bag every day and she knows how to use it by herself, if she needs to. 

    Every parent to a child with CHD would be grateful for North Carolina to pass a Pulse Oximetry Screening bill into legislation, saving newborns like Sydnie Lyn throughout the state.  All parents should have the comfort of this basic diagnostic screening and no baby should die from an undetected heart defect.

    This blog post was originally posted on the American Heart Association You're the Cure blog.

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