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Lead Testing Machines Providing Important Preventive Care for Children


The Volunteers at Sonora Regional Medical Center recently donated over $2,000 to purchase a lead screening machine for Arnold Family Medical Center. In addition, the Pediatric Clinic at the Forest Road Health and Wellness Center secured grant funding to also purchase a LeadCare® II screening device.

The LeadCare® II is a point-of-care device that provides immediate results on blood lead levels with one easy finger stick. This allows the doctor to test, educate and intervene in one office visit without having to send the child to an outside lab for testing.

Lead occurs naturally in the environment and through man-made sources such as old paint, lead pipes and even imported consumer products such as candy, jewelry and toys. If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth, hearing problems, anemia, seizures and in extreme cases even coma and death. Early intervention and treatment helps prevent such complications.

State regulations require screening for lead exposure at one and two years of age. In 2015 there were approximately 800 one- and two-year-old children living in Tuolumne County; only 157 had blood lead screening tests.

“One of the main reasons for the low lead screening rate is that parents have to bring children to the lab to have the screening performed,” says Tony Conte, MD, a pediatric physician at the Forest Road Health and Wellness Center. “Having the ability to do the test in the clinic greatly improves compliance with state regulation and provides better care for our children.”

The Volunteers at Sonora Regional Medical Center, who are celebrating 50 years of service to the community, donate more than $25,000 annually to worthy causes from scholarships and sponsorships for local students to funding the purchase of medical equipment to ease the financial burden on patients and the Medical Center.