13-Year-Old Campaigns for Lifesaving Heart Test for Infants

By: Dave Heller | Posted: April 6, 2013 3:55 AM
Sophie Phillips

Sophie Phillips

Thirteen-year-old Sophie Phillips is a very motivated young lady. The Port St. Lucie eighth grader is leading a campaign to try to save babies with heart defects.

She's walking the halls of the Capitol, visiting lawmakers and telling them about a new test for newborns. It’s called a Pulse Oximetry Screening. Its regular application is crafted in HB 81, "Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Failure."

The test is fast, cheap and painless, and can detect congenital heart defects.

Some hospitals are already using it. Proposed legislation would require all hospitals to administer the test to newborns.

“We need to save these kids’ lives," Says Sophie. " We need these kids to get the proper treatment before they leave the hospitals, so that way they can go on and live normal lives like your average, everyday people.”

Supporters of Pulse Oximetry Screening say undetected heart defects can lead to avoidable health complications and medical expenses, or even worse, the death of an infant.

Similar legislation did not get through the Legislature last year, but Sophie hopes she can convince lawmakers of the need for the test.

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Video Credit: Dave Heller

Dave Heller is a Tallahassee freelance reporter/videographer. 

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