The Weather Channel will air the story of Melody Rush, a lab technician in UMass Medical School’s New England Newborn Screening Program who braved a blizzard to pick up a newborn baby’s blood sample and helped save her life, in an episode of the “So You think You’d Survive?” series at 10 p.m. Nov. 19.
Rush was one of several members of the newborn screening team who took to the roads and public transportation after a record-breaking snowstorm in January to pick up newborn babies’ blood samples when the road conditions sidelined the delivery service. The team collected samples from 25 hospitals in Eastern Massachusetts and took them to the lab in Jamaica Plain. One of the samples Rush picked up was from Juliana Salvi, who has a genetic disorder that prevents her body from properly metabolizing galactose, a sugar found in all milk and milk-based formulas. The disorder can cause permanent brain damage or death if it is not detected within days after a baby is born.
The newborn screening staff’s yeoman efforts during the blizzard have been widely reported in the news media and have brought Rush accolades. Rush was honored as an Unsung Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women in a Statehouse ceremony June 17. The story became popular on Twitter, as shown in this Storify.