Florida Receives an "F" On March of Dimes Premature Report Card

By: Jennifer Milton Email
By: Jennifer Milton Email

"It was like a life death you know situation."

Dwayne Taiste remembers one of the scariest days of his life- the day his wife Rhonda gave birth to their baby girl 2 months too soon.

"She had a lazy eye, she was born 1 pound 8 ounces."

Little Brooke Taiste fought to survive for three months of her life, with her family by her side.

"We never left the hospital, we stayed at the hospital each and every day, all day long," said Taiste.

Brooke joins the more than 13 percent of premature babies born in the state of Florida. The March of Dimes recently released its annual premature birth report card, and Florida received a failing grade for the third year in a row.

"There are far too many women in our state, pregnant women, that do not have readible access to pre-natal care so they're having their babies early," said Penelope Tiam-Fook.

Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn deaths, and the babies who do survive, can face a lifetime of health problems.

They're at risk of blindness, of hearing challenges, of heart defects," said Tiam-Fook.

Taiste says when Brooke was born, he could fit his wedding band around her entire arm but now she is a healthy 4 year old child, and her father has high hopes for her future.

"It's got to be something good, great, because she's a special baby."

Georgia received and F as well. Officials say many southern states got failing grades, however, no state in the country received an "A".

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