Pallone Bill on Sudden Unexpected Death in Early Life Passes House of Representatives

Sep 9, 2014 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 669, the “Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act,” which was introduced by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), the senior Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.  The bill received bipartisan support and passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee in July.  Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 2746, in July that is currently before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

“Stillbirth and sudden unexpected infant death affect tens of thousands of families every year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and sudden infant death syndrome is the leading cause of death for infants up to 12 months old,” said Congressman Pallone.  “Too many families have struggled to find answers to these tragic events.   This legislation will give researchers the information that they need to help us better understand these unbearable losses and provide parents with much needed answers.” 

“I would also like to sincerely thank Laura Crandall who has worked with me on this issue for many years and who came to testify before the Health Subcommittee on this bill last November,” Pallone added.  “Laura’s strength in the wake of the devastating and inexplicable loss of her young daughter, Maria, is inspiring, and her continued efforts to find answers for her own family as well as so many others have helped bring this bill to the House floor today.”   

The “Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act,” would enhance awareness regarding unexpected sudden death in early life and improve the surveillance and collection of critical data when investigating these tragic deaths.  Specifically, it would improve the development of standard protocols used by medical examiners in death scene investigations and autopsies surrounding these deaths, and it would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct training activities regarding these protocols.