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State considers infant-heart testing

If two Republican state lawmakers have their way, all babies born in Wisconsin would have a test aimed at finding congenital heart defects.

Oconomowoc Representative Joel Kleefisch and Marathon Senator Jerry Petrowski have introduced bills requiring hospitals to administer the pulse oximetry test to newborns.

Only about a quarter of Wisconsin hospitals offer the test now - and Gretchen Whitehurst of Reedsburg said it saved the life of her son Cooper. He's almost five - and his mother said he wouldn't be alive today, had he not been given a "pulse-ox" test that showed he was born with a congenital heart defect.

Those defects are said to be the most common fatal diseases in newborns. Although Republicans introduced the measure, Whitehurst said Democrats are getting behind it, too. She also testified in Washington recently, pushing for a national requirement for the "pulse-ox" test.