Arkansas health board formally OKs rule changes to speed newborns' blood tests


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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — The Arkansas Board of Health has formally approved rule changes that now require blood samples collected from newborns to be sent within one business day to the state laboratory.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ( ) reports the move is aimed at reducing the time it takes to determine if babies have disorders that require immediate treatment. Prior rules allowed hospitals to wait up to 48 hours before sending them.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2013 that thousands of samples nationwide had arrived at labs five or more days after they were collected.

One baby's sample in Arkansas wasn't tested until more than three weeks after he was born. The baby was later diagnosed with galactosemia, a disorder that prevented his body from digesting a sugar found in breast milk and traditional formula.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,

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