Mom pushes for mandatory heart defect screening for newborns - FOX 35 News Orlando

Mom pushes for mandatory heart defect screening for newborns

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By Tracy Jacim, Reporter

PALM COAST, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -- A Palm Coast woman is working to push a bill through the Florida Legislature that would add a simple, non-invasive and painless test to the state's list of mandatory newborn screenings.

Rudi Dotson lost her 22-month-old son, due to an unknown heart defect.  Her baby, Landon, was born at 7 pounds and 13 ounces, with blue eyes.  As he grew, he was the picture of good health and rarely sick.

"A very happy healthy little boy," Dotson said.  "Super active in daycare."

It wasn't until this past January, when he was playing soccer with his older old brother, that he told mom he was tired.  They went inside to take a bath, and that's when everything changed.

"He was very pale, his lips were blue," said Dotson.  "It took maybe 30 seconds for him to become that pale.  I pulled him out of the bathtub, administered CPR and called the ambulance, and my husband who was in the other room.  But Landon died in our home."

Dotson said they had no idea what to tell medics or what to look for.  "He didn't have any allergies, allergic reactions.  There was no medical info we could give the doctor because we didn't know he had a heart condition."

The Medical Examiner's official conclusion is not yet complete, but it is acknowledged Landon had a heart defect.

There's a test that can detect some heart defects in infants called the pulse oximetry test.  It measures the percent of oxygen saturation of hemoglobin in arterial blood and pulse rate.  While there are doctors who say it would not have detected Landon's heart defect, others say, at this point, they can't be certain that is true.

That's why this mom is fighting to add the test to the list of newborn screenings.

There are already more than 35 mandatory tests, and adding this one would cost a mere five to ten dollars extra.

"The fact of the matter is, maybe not in Landon's case, but in every other child that's born in the state of Florida from now on, it could be their case," Dotson said.

She is working with the American Heart Association, which is planning a Heart Ball on April 19, at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort to help people with heart disease and other cardiac conditions.

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