Every day babies are born addicted to drugs. Whether it be street drugs, or medications that are prescribed during pregnancy, the problem has prompted one local hospital to start treating newborns with addictions and their mothers right here in Wheeling.
When a baby is born addicted to drugs at Wheeling Hospital, they do a neonatal abstinence screening. Using that tool, they check the baby every 1-2 hours and come up with a score to determine the length of time a baby needs to stay at the hospital.
That's something that is vital to treatment and recovery.
Nurse Manager Kara Gazdik said, "If we keep the babies here, we can start those resources now. We have excellent resources that can go into the home to check the child, visiting nurses association, rehabilitation program for our center of pediatrics, all of these things can start seeing this child while they're here. We can get the social worker here the case manager here. If we keep these families here and introduce them to the resources here, they're more like to use them when they go home."
A year ago, Wheeling Hospital started giving nurses extra training in caring for addicted babies, both medically and emotionally. Some babies require a stay in the hospital for weeks.