Helping Parents Make Healthy Decisions for their Children

Style News Wire | 5/20/2009, 4:50 p.m.
A few weeks ago, I successfully amended HB 1672 to include mandatory screening of newborns for sickle-cell trait. I am ...

Texas families will greatly benefit from requiring the screening of newborns for sickle-cell trait. Although the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) already screens for this trait, codifying this agency rule and putting it into statute would provide great benefit to the children of Texas. Children who are financially eligible will be referred for services available to kids with special health care needs. Additionally, people who receive a positive test for sickle cell trait and meet certain criteria will also be eligible for certain services by the department. My amendment will also safeguard the health of Texas children by allowing DSHS to screen for other disorders they deem necessary, without having to continuously come to the Legislature for further statutory amendments.

Parents need to be informed if their child is a sickle cell trait carrier because of the additional health risks associated with the trait. Individuals with the trait require extra oxygen during anesthesia and surgical operations, and are cautioned against participating in activities at high or low altitudes. A person unaware of his or her sickle cell trait carrier status may pass the trait to their child, if the person conceives with another sickle cell trait carrier. This screening will not require any DNA tests that would require additional funding. Screening for sickle cell trait will allow parents to make healthy decisions for their children.