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Parents Call For Increased Tests On Newborns After Unexpectedly Losing Baby

A mother and father in the U.K. are grieving the loss of their three-month-old baby, who suddenly died while they were shopping. According to medical examinations, the baby died of a heart defect that went undetected at birth because she wasn't tested for it.

They're trying to fight for other children now, advocating to have more routine tests done on newborns.

Jason Thomas and Gemma Williams were proud new parents of baby Lexi, and they thought they had a happy and healthy little girl. They had no idea the tragedy that was in store for them when they bundled Lexi up one day at 12 weeks old and headed out to do some shopping.

“There was a sale on in Next and I went in to see what outfits were on offer," said Williams. “I went to touch Lexi’s face but she didn’t react. Then I realized something wasn’t right and I shouted for help. Luckily there was someone in the shop who was medically trained and was trying to resuscitate her while we waited for an ambulance."

Lexi was rushed to the hospital and was found to have a very rare condition: total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage (TAPVR). The condition is a heart disease in which the veins that normally would take blood from the lungs to the heart are attached to the wrong place.

Because of this, the lungs are unable to get oxygen to the heart, and the heart is unable to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

Doctors can correct TAPVR, depending on severity, with a surgery that would allow the oxygenated blood to flow properly. If an infant doesn't get this surgery, the condition is likely to be deadly, and can progress very quickly.

Thomas and Williams had no idea that Lexi had the heart disease, the doctors missed it when she was born. The devastated parents feel like their child didn't have to die if the hospital had simply tested for it routinely.

“I didn’t think it was real. Before I knew it, my child was gone. The pain will never go – I have just learnt to cope with it,” said Williams.

Now the couple is trying to save other children by petitioning for the test to be made mandatory for all newborns born in Wales. If the disease is caught at birth, most babies will have a chance at survival.

“I really don’t want other families to experience the pain and heartache our family has been through,” said the grieving mother. “I have learnt that a simple test can be done on newborns that can check for heart defects. It is painless and only takes a few minutes. The pulse oximetry test checks the levels of oxygen in the baby’s blood. Low levels of oxygen can be a sign of a critical heart defect."

Some 1,200 people have already signed the petition for 'Lexi's Vital Test for Newborns'.

“Why is this not a standard test for all newborns? The machine used for this test is already in the hospitals so hospitals would not have to spend money on equipment, just the time of the person carrying out the test," Williams complains. “In my eyes this is a test well worth someone’s time.”

Source: Mirror
Photos: Change.org, Dorsetdude/Wikimedia, Pixabay

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