The project was driven by a teenager who sought signatures to bring forth her petition to the legislature.
Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed a law this afternoon requiring hospitals in Puerto Rico to test all newborns’ oxygen saturation in the blood, by means of pulse oximetry before they are discharged. By this decree, the Government aims to ensure early diagnosis of critical congenital heart defects, as informed by the governor’s mansion in written statements. Thus, Puerto Rico joins 44 US jurisdictions that have adopted this test and have made it compulsory by law, executive order, regulation or guidelines. The House Bill 1793 came at the initiative of the young Paola ‘Lola’ Montilla (13) who was born with Ebstein’s anomaly, a heart defect that occurs in one in 200,000 births. Last March, the teen created a website through which she sought out signatures to take her project to the legislature by petition. ‘Lola’ and her parents, Víctor Montilla and Mari Carmen Serrano, accompanied the chief executive during the signing of the Act. Also present were the Speaker of the House of Representatives Jaime Perelló, and Representative Conny Varela, who is the author of the project, along with Lydia Mendez.