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Sun Jun 19, 2016, 04:12 PM

Number One Priority for General Election: Please Save the Children (From Being Born Premature)

Tomorrow we go into General Election mode. I would like to get a head start on something that has a tremendous social and economic impact on this country---prematurity. Many of the nation's communities have an excessive number of babies being born premature. These infants face a lifetime of challenges. And, they put a strain on our public health care system. The March of Dimes estimated (in 2007) that health care costs in this country for premature infants were over 16 billion dollars a year. Given medical inflation, is is probably much higher now. And prematurity and low birth weight are the biggest factors in infant mortality.

There are many causes of prematurity. Some, like maternal disease are difficult to correct. Thanks to advances in fertility treatment, many women who might not have been able to conceive in the past are now getting pregnant--and having medically complicated pregnancies.

However, some of the causes of premature labor, low birth weight infants and high infant mortality and morbidity could be corrected if we would only change our priorities a teeny-weeny bit.

Tarrant County, Texas, aka Fort Worth has an unusually high infant mortality rate. All urban areas on Texas have high infant mortality, but Tarrant County makes Bexar, Dallas, Harris look good. Why?

One cause is the high level of PCBs in area waterways from a military dump in Lake Worth. The PCBS end up in fish which locals still continue to consume despite "catch and release" warnings are area lakes. Here is a link to a DU Journal I wrote in 2010:


And here is a link to a 2007 journal about the same topic:


Which begs the question: Why the hell are you so hung up on the topic of water pollution and infant mortality, McCamy? Answer: because my own completely uncomplicated pregnancy ended up with a premature delivery that my doctor could not explain. And because the problem in Tarrant County is not getting any better. Here is a link from today's paper....

Oops. Sorry. For some reason there is no online link to the very excellent article written by TCU journalism students about Tarrant County's ongoing infant mortality problem. If you can snag a hard copy of the newspaper, I encourage you to do so. If you can find a link for me, please post it. I would not put it past the city and its leaders to attempt to minimize online coverage of one of the city's dark secrets---that for decades we have had increased infant mortality and that nothing we have done so far seems to help. And that no one in city government has the cojones to do the two things which might actually make a difference, namely 1) make someone clean up Lake Worth where a military dump is leaching PCBs into our waterways and 2) inform the public about the reason for the "catch and release" notices posted all around area streams and lakes. But hey, no one in Fort Worth wants to piss off the Pentagon which provides lots of area jobs. And no one in Fort Worth wants to discourage recreational fishing. On the contrary, they want to encourage it, since tourism money is good money--


Anyway, if some one has Hillary Clinton's ear, can you please ask her to turn the spotlight on to a topic that is massively important to a lot of families. Infant mortality can be reduced. But only if we change priorities and make the needs of children--and their parents-- a priority.

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