Some hospitals experience delays in newborn testing

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- At most hospitals, blood samples are taken from newborns and sent off to a lab for testing. State law requires those samples to be submitted to labs within 48 hours. But at some hospitals, the samples aren't sent out that quickly.

Six days. In the grand scheme of life, it's not a long time.

But for a newborn baby with a life-threatening condition, it's everything.

That's why the U.S. Department of Health developed newborn screening more than 50 years ago.

When done right, screenings can catch rare and deadly diseases before they become a problem.

We checked newborn screening data from the Indiana Department of Health.

State law requires hospitals to send out samples within 48 hours.

According to state data, LaPorte Hospital tested 647 samples last year. Of those, 31-percent, 203 samples, took six or more days.

The state average is 7.5-percent.

At Goshen Hospital, there were delays in 23-percent of the samples.

A spokesperson at Goshen Hospital says there are different rules for babies born at hospitals compared to those born at home. In Goshen, more women are choosing home births, which creates a delay in the testing.

That could be skewing their numbers.


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