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As a mother of a child with a congenital heart defect, I want to share following: One of every 100 to 150 babies is born with a heart defect; one in 10 of those is fatal. Congenital heart defects are the No. 1 birth defect and No. 1 cause of infant death. Five times as many children die of congenital heart defects than of cancer. Yet doctors don't warn us about the possibility of a heart defect during pregnancy. They warn us of Down syndrome, yet Down syndrome only affects one of every 800 to 1,000 babies.

So many lives would be saved if all newborns were given an echocardiogram before leaving the hospital. Had our daughter not had one, she would have died within days, if not hours, of coming home. Her condition is severe, but some heart defects are a little more sneaky, like that of the teen who suddenly dies from overexertion because nobody knew he had a hole in his heart.

I know, nobody wants to think it could happen to them, and echocardiograms are expensive. But it could save your child's life. Think about it and insist on your newborn having an echocardiogram!

Jennifer Morgan Wright

Cascade

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