New Law Will Effect Newborn Health Screenings

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Newborn babies go through a battery of health screenings at birth in the State of Texas.

"Our role in the laboratory is to collect the sample," Kerry Noormohamed said. "It's collected on a filter paper 24 hours after the baby is born and again at 10-14 days."

At Midland Memorial Hospital, a small sample of blood is placed on a form then is shipped off to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Officials with the state say blood sampled is screened for disorders and diseases. After the screening, the blood is stored and can be used for research but officials assure NewsWest 9, the blood is not labeled.

House Bill 1672 underscores confidentiality. It mandates that information obtained during the screening process shall not be disclosed unless by a court order, if it's needed for diagnosis or through written consent of a parent or for the use of a medical examiner.

"The State will have to destroy what's left of the sample." Noormohamed said if parents opt out, the blood will not be stored. "It's just one piece of paper parents can read and opt out of the storage."

Officials say the research has been limited to this point. Officials tell NewsWest 9, there have been some basic studies to see if the blood may one day yield medical advancements but some medical professionals are hopeful.

"That is my first thought what else can we test for that can help a baby," Noormohamed said.