A little girl was born to a patient of mine last week. As happens to all babies born in hospitals these days, she was subjected to a heel-prick Guthrie Test before discharge.
A couple of days later, the parents got a call from the hospital which does the tests, imploring them to get her thyroid hormone levels checked ASAP. They went to the nearest peds ER, where further testing confirmed the baby has congenital hypothyroidism. Today she’s scheduled to have a radionuclide scan to check if she even has a thyroid.
Most people in our generation know the term “cretin” mainly as a pejorative hurled at someone who isn’t very bright. What many are unaware of, however, is that a cretin is the medical term for a person so affected by untreated congenital hypothyroidism. There’s a reason very few of us have seen a real cretin; the neonatal scanning that picked up this little girl is it. Hopefully, with thyroid hormone replacement therapy, she’ll grow up to be every bit as sweet and intelligent as her mother.
Filed under: Birth |