Valley family fights to make heart test mandatory for newborns

PHOENIX - A new test to catch heart issues is on its way to the 80,000 babies born in our state each year.

Nicole Olmstead's family is at the front of the fight to make this happen.

Nicole's 9-year-old gymnast can't stop moving now, but on the day he was born, he wasn't moving enough.

"We knew something was wrong," she remembered of her son's birth.

 Nineteen days later, a mother's intuition was confirmed.

"After three hours, they brought in a piece of paper and started drawing what what wrong with his heart," Nicole described.

Skilled doctors helped re-write history for 9-year-old William, and almost a decade later, his family is fighting for a better way for other babies.

"I actually only gave two speeches, that's how I persuaded them," William said.

Speeches to urge lawmakers to make the pulse oximetry test -- which measures lower levels of oxygen in the blood, indicating possible heart defects -- mandatory for newborns.

"Catching these babies early, before they go home from the hospital, is so incredibly important," Nicole tells us.

Gov. Jan Brewer agreed with William, so she signed it into law.

It goes into effect at the end of July and requires babies to be screened and results reported to the state health department.
 

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