A new bill from by a local lawmaker will help parents of children with a potential spine problem.

Spina bifida is a congenital condition where the spinal column does not completely close and leaves part of the spinal cord exposed. State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township has sponsored a bill to get parents of unborn and newly born children who may have the condition access to more information and help. The representative said he has heard from mothers of these babies and for many the outlook they received from doctors was gloom, with some being told that the baby would not be compatible with life. The legislation calls on doctors and medical providers to provide parents with information about the condition and recommend additional testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Vaupel, who chairs the House Health Policy Committee, said there have been cases of false positives with spinal bifida. When accurately diagnosed, there are techniques that can be done in utero or right after birth to help the child. Vaupel, who chairs the House Health Policy Committee, stated that credible education and early detection are key. House Bill 4548 was approved with overwhelming support earlier this week and is now in the hands of the Senate Health Policy Committee. If passes through the committee, the Senate at-large will vote on the bill before sending it to the Governor for his signature. (MK)