More than 35,000 babies every year are born with congenital heart defects; if not treated the babies can die within the first year.
We spoke to a representative of Johnson City Medical Center who said they are now the first hospital in the region to receive accreditation in pediatric transthoracic echocardiography. We learned an echocardiogram is a non-intrusive ultrasound study which is one of the main diagnostic tools available to detect congenital heart defects.
But we learned it isn't only for babies. Beth Arnold is the mother of 8-year-old Sam, and she says having a hospital that is accredited close by could mean life or death.
"Having that assurance that we can be on site and all contained in one building is such a relief," she said. "To not have to worry about what could happen between that exit and the next, what if we're not near a hospital if we need it?"
We learned although diagnosis and treatment has improved tremendously over the years, early diagnosis is critical.