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Secrecy clouds efforts to track newborn blood tests

December 30, 2013

Darien, Conn. For the first 99 days of his life, no one knew why little Peter O'Connor was so sick. He wasn't growing. His eyes wouldn't track. His skin was cold.

Doctors should have known within his first week of life that the baby didn't have a functioning thyroid gland, which produces hormones crucial for growth and brain development. Since the 1970s, a routine blood test for newborn babies has alerted doctors to the condition, which is easily treated with a daily dose of thyroid hormone.

It should have been that way for Peter.

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