One of the proposed laws waiting for the governor’s signature could save the lives of hundreds of Missouri newborn children every year. But it has a provision for parents who don’t want to know about their baby’s condition.
Chloe’s Law, it’s called, named for Chloe Manz of Lee’s Summit, who is now four years old. She was born with a congenital heart problem and would have died if her mother had not insisted she receive a test with a pulse oximeter. That’s a small device that measures oxygen in the blood. A low reading indicates heart problems. The test led to Chloe’s successful open-heart repair surgery.
The legislature mandates pulse oximeter testing for all newborns. But one provision allows parents who sign a document saying they have a religious objection to opt out of the test.
Senator Rob Schaaf, a physician from St. Joseph, is surprised some parents would not want to know. “It’s almost like, ‘You’re not even allowed to look at my child,'” he says, “I’m just sad that we even had to put that in there.”
Sponsor Dan Brown of Rolla is disappointed that provision has to be in the bill, too. He hopes parents will be more willing to allow the test when they learn how simple and non-invasive it is.
He says the children show no outward sign of the congenital heart problem when they’re born. But he says the test will spot it and lead to the kind of operation that saved Chloe Manz/s life.