Delays in newborn testing widespread - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Delays in newborn testing widespread

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - More than half of Tennessee hospitals don't meet a state deadline to test the blood of newborn infants.

Hospitals are supposed to prick the heel of newborns within 24 hours of birth to get a blood sample, and that sample is supposed to make it to a Nashville lab within two days to be tested for 24 possible conditions.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press ( cited data from the Tennessee Department of Health in reporting that 27 percent of hospitals met the deadline in August, the most recent month analyzed. Another 26 percent got it to the lab by the third day and 46 percent arrived later.

The data has led the state health department to make changes. In January, a courier service will begin transporting samples and lab hours will be extended.

Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press,

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