Newborn Health Initiative champion Jennifer Degl recently penned an article in the International Neonatal Consortium (INC) newsletter, sharing her story and experience as the mother of a premature baby. In the piece, Degl emphasizes the importance of INC’s role in increasing the number of neonatal drug therapies available in order for this extremely vulnerable population to grow up and live happy, healthy lives. “With proper timing and communication strategies in place, I believe that the INC can work to increase the neonatal drug options and availability of those drugs, so that we can improve the lives of our future neonatal population,” wrote Degl. “I am excited to be a part of such important work.”
Last week, Reps. Billy Long (R-MO) and Ben Ray Juján (D-NM) re-introduced legislation -- The Promoting Life Saving New Therapies for Neonates Act (H.R. 2641) -- to boost the amount of life-saving treatments available for at-risk newborn babies. Approximately 200,000 newborns in the United States require admission to a neonatal intensive care unit every year. Among those who survive, one in five faces health problems that persist for life such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, chronic lung disease, and deafness. But unfortunately, current incentives have not been sufficient to stimulate novel therapies for the neonatal population due to numerous challenges.
Last night, Comedian and Television Host Jimmy Kimmel gave a heartfelt, emotional opening monologue detailing his newborn son Billy's emergency surgery to correct defects in his heart. A few hours after his birth, a nurse noticed a murmur in Billy's heart. Kimmel noted that the hospital team started doing some tests to see whether it might just be fluid in the lungs. Doctors then pivoted to his heart, and performed an echocardiogram that found Billy was born with a heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia. Kimmel recounted the events leading up to and after the surgery.