Virginia Baptist Part of Lifesaving Pilot Program

Lynchburg, VA - Babies born in Lynchburg will now have a new potentially lifesaving screening before they leave the hospital.

Critical congenital heart disease affects about two in every 1,000 babies and it can be deadly if it's not found.

The Virginia Department of Health just got a three year grant to help kick start a pilot screening program and Virginia Baptist Hospital is one of 6 in the state taking part.

Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Mark Townsend said the screening measures the amount of oxygen in the baby's blood. It is simple, quick and painless.

"Historically these babies died at home or died in the process of being resuscitated," Townsend said. "We're going to be catching those kids who previously had fallen through the cracks."

Townsend said as soon as the end of the month every baby discharged should be screened.

What they're doing now will help pave the road for screening not only in all Virginia hospitals ... but in hospitals across the nation.