After a healthy pregnancy, great prenatal care, and being given a clean bill of health at the hospital, Kristine took her seemingly healthy, pink-toned newborn Cora home in December, 2009.
Three days later, she was feeding Cora when she suddenly stopped breathing and died in her arms. She learned from the coroner that Cora had a critical congenital heart defect.
Kristine has since become an advocate for newborn heart defect screening. She championed thorough CCHD screening legislation in her state and started the organization Pulse Ox Advocacy to help other advocates across the world, with a goal of saving other mothers the pain of learning about their child’s heart defect from the coroner.
Cora McCormick’s Heartbreaking Tale: A Mother’s Fight for Change
The Inaugural Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit witnessed a heart-wrenching narrative from Kristine Brite McCormick, a mother turned patient advocate, who shared the tragic story of her daughter, Cora McCormick.
Cora’s life began with joy and promise. Born to ecstatic parents, she was a healthy-looking baby with a rosy complexion. But beneath that healthy exterior lay a silent killer: a congenital heart defect. This defect went unnoticed by medical professionals, leading to a devastating outcome. One fateful morning, as Kristine fed her daughter, Cora’s life was tragically cut short. She passed away in her mother’s arms, leaving Kristine and her family shattered.
The coroner’s call two days later introduced Kristine to the term “congenital heart disease” for the first time. The pain of losing her daughter was further intensified when she learned about pulse oximetry screening, a simple procedure that could have detected Cora’s condition. This screening, which is routinely performed on adults, was not standard for newborns, despite its potential to save lives.
Determined to prevent other families from experiencing the same heartbreak, Kristine embarked on a mission. She delved into research, connected with experts, and advocated for change. Her relentless efforts culminated in the passage of “Cora’s Law” in 2012. This groundbreaking legislation mandates hospitals in Indiana to screen newborns for critical congenital heart defects using pulse oximetry.
But Kristine’s journey didn’t end with the passage of the law. She continues to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and advocates for better newborn screening practices. Through her efforts, she hopes to ensure that no other mother has to hear about her child’s congenital heart defect from a coroner.
The summit served as a platform for Kristine to share her story, emphasizing the importance of patient safety and the need for proactive measures in healthcare. Her tale is a stark reminder that behind every statistic is a face, a story, and a family forever changed.
In Kristine’s words, “It’s not just about Cora. It’s about all the babies like her.” Through her advocacy, she aims to ensure that more babies stay at home with their families, where they truly belong.
In the face of tragedy, Kristine Brite McCormick stands as a beacon of hope, resilience, and change. Her story underscores the urgent need for reforms in healthcare and the power of a mother’s love to bring about lasting change.