Governor Bredesen Hosts Infant Mortality Summit

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Memphis - Gov. Phil Bredesen joined Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton and more than 200 stakeholders from state and county government, and legislative, not-for profit, education, faith-based and the health care communities today to develop and outline a strategy to address infant mortality in Shelby County.

Infant mortality refers to the death of a live-born infant at any point before the first year of life. In 2004, Shelby County’s infant mortality rate (the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births) of 12.8 was 48.8 percent greater than Tennessee’s rate of 8.6. For seven of the last 10 years, Shelby County has had the highest infant mortality rate in the state.

“While this summit is taking place in Memphis, one to two babies under one year of age may die in Tennessee, and there’s a good chance one or both of them will be in Shelby County,” said Gov. Bredesen. “Making a meaningful difference in modifying behaviors, lifestyles and conditions that affect birth outcomes will take community collaboration. There is something every single family member, neighbor and friend can do to help combat infant mortality.”

"This situation is urgent and for that reason, the summit will be a true ‘working’ summit. We have held numerous sessions throughout the Shelby County community to ascertain precisely what hurdles must be overcome and what resources are required to do so,” said Mayor Wharton.

“We realize that any successful solution will involve multiple disciplines and have met with the faith-based, medical and social work sectors of our community. Everyone who participates in this summit will leave with a clear plan for a concrete course of action.”

Overall, Tennessee’s infant mortality rate is one of the worst in the nation, ranking 48th compared to other states. Only Louisiana (49) and Mississippi (50) have worse infant mortality rates. The infant mortality rate for Tennessee’s African-American babies is more than two-and-a-half times the rate for white babies.

Factors that can increase the risk of infant mortality include low birth weight (babies weighing less than five pounds, eight ounces); a mother’s lack of high school diploma or equivalent; a mother’s lack of prenatal care and/or use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; and improperly placing babies on their stomachs to sleep.

However, planned and properly spaced pregnancies, early and regular prenatal care, breastfeeding, strong family support, regular exercise, avoidance of alcohol and drugs, women of child-bearing age knowing to take folic acid, and safe sleep practices are essential components in reducing infant mortality.

Also, racial disparities exist in infant mortality. African-American babies are twice as likely to die before their first birthday as white babies, and black mothers are also twice as likely to receive inadequate or no prenatal care as white mothers.

Further, black infants die more than twice as often as white infants from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is associated with poor sleep practices for babies.

“For the last few years in Tennessee, at least 680 babies died before their first birthday,” said Health Commissioner Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D. “The Department of Health is committed to addressing the prevalence of infant mortality and significantly reducing its rate in Tennessee.”

The Governor’s Office of Children’s Care Coordination, the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and the state Department of Health continue to explore and develop new partnerships and collaborations with other state governmental agencies; local, municipal and county governments; community-based organizations; and business and faith-based communities that share the vision of seeing more babies survive to their first birthdays.


Supreme Court Decides Hospitals Cannot Maintain Liens After Bills Paid In Full

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has decided that hospitals are required to release their hospital lien against a patient as soon as the patient and the patient’s insurance company have paid the full amount of the hospital charges. This lawsuit involves a common practice in the hospital industry. Hospitals charge uninsured patients more for the same services ... (click for more)

Parkridge East Hospital Announces Prenatal Education Classes For January - March 2015

Parkridge East Hospital is offering a variety of Prenatal Education Classes in January, February, and March. Classes include:  -  Labor of Love (Lamaze) Four Week Series ($50) – Mondays beginning Jan, 5, 6:30-9 p.m. - This class will prepare first-time parents for everything they will need to know about having their baby. The class discussion will include nutrition, ... (click for more)

Police Looking For Scruggs In Stabbing Of Man, Woman

Police are looking for 30-year-old Sean Michael Scruggs in the stabbing of a man and a woman. The victims were listed as Charde N. Joseph, 27, and Kameron Sales, 18. They s uffered non-life threatening injuries.   W arrants are on file for Scruggs for especially aggravated burglary, attempted murder, aggravated assault (domestic) and vandalism. The incident ... (click for more)

Bobby Dodd Lawsuit Against City Moved To Federal Court

A lawsuit brought by former Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd against the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Fund over his pension has been moved to Federal Court. The lawsuit was earlier filed in Chancery Court by attorneys Jerry Tidwell and Adam Izell. The suit says former Chief Dodd opted for a plan that would have half of his pension go to ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 10 Tasks For This Week

In 1993 a 95-year-old man named William Snell created a list called “Life’s Little Instructions.” His list has swirled around in the Internet ever since and it is, indeed, a delightful checklist to keep us focused in the right direction. Curiously, when I read over it this past weekend, it dawned on me that if each of us would try to accomplish just 10 items on Mr. Snell’s list ... (click for more)