Children Blinded and Dying for the Price of a Gumball
Released on = April 8, 2005, 12:12 am
Press Release Author = Pam Bergsma
Industry = Non Profit
Press Release Summary = Some Florida legislators are blocking the passage of a bill
that would protect infants from vision loss and even death, against a flood of
support by the public and their fellow legislators.
Press Release Body = The Infant Eye Care bill is sitting in the General Health Care
Committee of the Florida house gathering dust, not because of a lack of support. The
13 member committee includes 7 members who are co-sponsors of HB1055, better known
as "Joey's bill".
Seven out of 13 members is a majority vote, so why isn't the bill being heard? We
doubt it could be the additional cost to the Florida taxpayers, since the proposed
legislation will cost very little to enact and save thousands in long term medical
treatment for children who have been needlessly blinded.
One in every 677 live births in the US are affected with a treatable eye disease or
anomaly that will cause blindness, if left undetected. Current Florida statutes, as
standardized by the American Academy of Pediatrics, mandate that all pediatricians
(upon parental consent) perform infant vision exams. This must be done at prescribed
intervals and in a darkened room. The Infant Eye Care Bill is asking for one
additional step - eye dilation prior to the screening exam. Several ocular diseases,
that could blind or even kill a child, are not easily detected without dilation.
Pam Bergsma, who lost her grandson Joey to a deadly eye cancer called
retinoblastoma, has been traveling the roads of Florida for 3 years presenting
awareness and educational seminars wherever she can. She has also fought
relentlessly to get proper vision screening legislation enacted. Legislation that
would save children's vision, help them avoid the horror of losing an eye, and even
save their very lives.
So, what is it going to be? Are we going to trade the cost of a gumball for the
devastation of losing an eye or a child's life? If you don't think this is good
government decision-making, call Gayle Harrell, General Health Care Committee Chair,
at (850) 488-8749. Tell her to brush the dust off HB1055 and submit it for a vote,
because you believe a child's vision and life are worth far more than a gumball.
Web Site = http://www.kidsplea.org/joey.html
Contact Details = Pam Bergsma
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