24 hours. Make an impact.
Surreal Day Part 1: Today marks Eve’s 2-year rebirthday. April 13, 2009, Dr. del Nido and his team stopped our 4 month old baby’s heart for 6 hours, repaired it, and started it again.
Surreal Day Part 2: Following some weird arrhythmia this week, I canceled my DC trip and headed in for morning echocardiograms, EKGs and evaluations for a very crabby 2-year-old (needless to say, these exams don’t exactly get easier past infancy) at U of M Amplatz Children’s, (where Eve spent 4 months of her life in as a newborn). Results were awesome – echo and EKG looked great…just keeping an eye on the heart rate moving forward.
Surreal Day Part 3: Then it was off to Fairview Southdale Hospital in afternoon for a late day in-service training session on pulse oximetry screening for heart defects. This was attended by administration and newborn nursery directors from 5 large hospitals. The Minnesota rollout continues. Dr. Kochilas and Dr. Thompson presented screening protocols and educational materials. We also talked about health IT and how much easier this will get to report results over time.
This is also the hospital where I gave birth to Eve (and our other children) and where she was first diagnosed with heart failure. Surreal.
Surreal Day – Part 4: It is coming down the wire. On October 15, the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius recommending all newborns be screened for Critical Congenital Heart Disease using pulse oximetry. She has 180 days to respond – which means until the end of this week.
Over the next 24 hours, it seems like a great idea to rally. That means contacting the Secretary, and asking congressional members to reach out to the Secretary on the impending federal recommendation to screen all newborns for CCHD. The next 24 hours are critical. This is the path to saving lives.
Here’s what individuals, families and organizations can do, if possible.
1) Reach out to Secretary Sebelius at Health and Human Services to let her know of your support for screening for CCHD.
During business hours, call 202-690-7000. After hours, there is VM comment line: 202-205-5445
Email your personalized letter/note to the Secretary at: Kathleen.Sebelius@hhs.gov
You can copy and paste your letter right into the email. Use the subject line: “Support Newborn Screening for CCHD”
2) Reach out to your members of Congress to share your support and ask them to weigh in directly with Secretary Sebelius.
Use this link – it’s quick and easy way to find your delegation, with emails and phone numbers:
3) Email the appropriate version of these letters – one for Secretary Sebelius: Family letter_HHS_NBS CCHD
and one for a Congressional member: Family letter_Congress_NBS CCHD
Or just use them for talking points if you are calling (or do both!) You can customize however you’d like. The more personal the better.
Here’s the background briefing we’ve been using with leadership as well.
4) Share with your contacts. The online CHD community is powerful and beautiful thing. When it mobilizes, it rocks. If you need more, Cora’s mom has compiled one of the best online resources for pulse ox info at Cora’s Hopes and Dreams:
5) Let me know what you are hearing from your outreach at Facebook.com/1in100. I suspect this is not on the radar of most elected officials – use it as an opportunity to make them aware of CHD and what can be done to save lives and improve outcomes through early diagnosis.
P.S. Since this is mission critical, I don’t have the time (or talent) to include the links to every online site and Facebook page that can help with this…but there are many. Grateful for every single one.