By Emily Berry
Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen today announced a new initiative to investigate the causes of the state’s high infant mortality rate and ways to improve it.
Speaking at an Infant Mortality Summit in Memphis, the governor said he would coordinate regional Infant Mortality Review Teams through his Office of Child Care Coordination.
“When a child dies between birth and age 1, individual circumstances are always a little different for every one,” Gov. Bredesen said. “One of the things I believe because of my background in medical care is that you have to diagnose the problem real carefully before you perform surgery.”
The governor, who founded the HealthAmerica Corp. health care management company, said he wanted to investigate the problem of infant mortality before launching specific prevention programs.
At last estimate in 2004, seven of every 1,000 babies born in Hamilton County died before their first birthday. In Tennessee on average in 2004, the infant mortality rate was 8.62 deaths for every 1,000 babies.
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See tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press for full coverage.