Newborn Screening

New born

Saving Babies through Screening 

Carter was a New Jersey newborn diagnosed with maple syrup urine disease at 4 days old. That meant his system couldn’t break down certain proteins. Carter was home with his mom when the doctor called. At the hospital, she learned he had been about an hour away from slipping into a coma.

About one in every 750 babies is born with a potentially serious or deadly genetic disorder. Treatment can prevent devastating consequences, but time is of the essence – a child can become extremely ill or die in his first few days of life if fast action is not taken.

By law, all South Carolina babies are screened for 52 different disorders, but many samples were not tested within the federal guideline of three days.

The South Carolina Newborn Screening Collaborative – On Time Every Time was formed in 2014 to achieve one goal: to ensure all specimens would be sent for laboratory testing within 24 hours after the blood was drawn. 

The collaborative took swift action to identify and eliminate any obstacles to success inside or outside hospital walls. Transparency was key throughout the process. Each month hospitals received a public report showing the data and progress for every facility in the state.

Recently, a baby born in South Carolina tested positive for a disorder similar to Carter’s. His blood was collected within 40 hours after birth and delivered to the lab the next day, where his diagnosis was confirmed. Specialists were planning his treatment within four days. This quick response was possible because each staff person understood their role, and knew that the timeline was crucial.

Click here for more information about newborn screening in South Carolina.

RESULTS: As of January 2015, 93% of our birthing hospitals have met the goal – a staggering increase from the initially reported percentage of 25%. 

COST SAVINGS: $500,000 to $1M

PARTNERS: All 45 South Carolina birthing hospitals, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control

The Duke Endowment Logo

This work is made possible by the generosity of The Duke Endowment. South Carolina’s hospitals are grateful for the vision of James B. Duke, who established The Duke Endowment in December of 1924. For more information on the legacy of Mr. Duke and the work of The Duke Endowment, visit www.dukeendowment.org.

Documents and Resources