Telegram: Family grateful for newborn screening that saves lives

December 09, 2013

“If you think about the screenings we do and the disorders we identify, it can save lives,” Joyce A. Murphy, executive vice chancellor of UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in a front page story about the 50th anniversary of the Massachusetts Newborn Screening Program. 

That milestone was celebrated at a State House event on Dec. 9 co-hosted by UMass Medical School, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

UMass Medical School’s New England Newborn Screening Program has operated the Massachusetts program on behalf of DPH since 1997. A laboratory on the Jamaica Plain campus performs metabolic and genetic screening for nearly every one of the approximately 75,000 babies born in Massachusetts annually. 

Over the past 20 years, Massachusetts has screened more than 2.6 million babies for rare health conditions that could cause serious physical and developmental effects if not identified and treated early. Of those 2.6 million babies, more than 2,800 have tested positive for serious health conditions in the first days of life. 

The Telegram article described the experience of Westborough native Madeleine M. Stout, who was screened at birth more than 22 years ago. Stout will speak about the condition her screen revealed—and how early treatment prevented devastating consequences—at the State House. 

“It’s a massive program and it’s amazing what they can do now,” Madeleine’s mother, Michelle A. Graveline, told theTelegram