Under the Dome

Hagan pushes infant mortality legislation

Sen. Kay Hagan Tuesday touted two bills designed to reduce infant mortality by improving screening of new borns and the training of those who care for new babies.

"As a mother, I can not imagine the pain of losing a child, especially when that death may have been easily prevented,'' Hagan, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families, said in a teleconference call from Washington.

One measure, that Hagan co-sponsored with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, and Democrat Diane Feinstein of California, reauthorizes a program to provide training for child care providers on CPR, first aid, and other safe practices.

Hagan said the measure is designed to address what has historically been nearly 4,500 Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths(SUID) per year across the country including about 100 in North Carolina. The measure passed the Senate Health and Education Committee last week.

Hagan will hold a hearing on Thursday on a second bill, which reauthorizes a 2008 law which provides federal support for screenings for new borns.

As part of that effort, North Carolina now screens new borns for 28 different potential birth defects such as sickle cell and cystic fibrosis. Hagan said such screening allow doctors to more quickly treat the conditions.

Among those who will testify before Hagan's committee is Joye Mullis, a Raleigh mother, whose son's life was saved when screening detected a heart defect.

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