State Senator Michael McLachlan Applauds Passage of Bill to Screen Newborns for Cystic Fibrosis

May 15, 2009

Walks in Support of Cystic Fibrosis Victims, Research

Hartford, CT – State Senator Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury) today applauded the recent passage of HB 6263: An Act Requiring the Administration of a Screening Test for Cystic Fibrosis to Newborn Infants. Senator McLachlan co-sponsored the bill which requires hospitals to conduct cystic fibrosis testing on newborns. Parents can, however, opt to forgo the testing. Governor Rell signed the bill into law on May 8th.

“Whether it’s a scraped knee, a routine cold or a more serious, chronic condition like cystic fibrosis, seeing a child hurting or sick is always difficult for a parent,” said Senator McLachlan. “And while there is unfortunately no cure for cystic fibrosis, the sooner parents learn that their child is or may be affected, the better treatment they can provide for that child. I am proud to have my name on this important bill which I believe gives families a critical tool in caring for their children.”

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic, inherited disease affecting the lungs and digestive systems of about 70,000 people worldwide. The disease can close the lungs and lead to potentially fatal lung infections. It can also prevent the body from breaking down and absorbing food. Symptoms of the disease can be devastating and include frequent lung infections, wheezing, persistent coughing and a poor growth rate.

The bill comes as a victory not only to Senator McLachlan but also to his constituents and family friends, the Sabbagh’s. Jehad and Kathy Sabbagh, who live in Danbury, lost their son Ryan to complications of cystic fibrosis and have petitioned for mandatory screening of newborns. They have been closely involved in fundraising and research efforts, serving as co-chairs of the Danbury Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis.

Senator McLachlan is pleased to announce he will take part in this year’s 17th annual Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis with the Sabbagh’s this weekend in Danbury. The walk, which raises funds for research, will take place on Sunday at the Danbury War Memorial at 9 a.m.

“Sunday’s walk is a perfect way to celebrate the recent passage of the newborn screening legislation,” said Senator McLachlan. “The Sabbagh’s have suffered an enormous loss in the death of their son Ryan. But their continued push for research and testing is a tribute to his memory and I am honored to share some time with them this weekend as they continue that fight.”