New South Charleston hospital unit opens for infants suffering from opioid withdrawal

Local News

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – 13% of all babies delivered at Thomas Memorial Hospital are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

“we realized that we could step up our game,” says Heather Fouch, director of obstetrics and newborn services.

The numbers of these types of birth continue to grow, so the hospital will soon open it’s ‘Baby Steps’ unit- which stands for sensitive treatment, education and parenting support.

“I think it’s a great opportunity, one to get to help these babies get off to a better start in life, but also to help their parents,” says Mathew Upton, Chief Medical Officer of Thomas Health.

In just a few weeks both parents and babies will be able to come into these private patient care rooms.

“These babies need quiet, low lights, little stimuli to be able to get through withdrawal and be discharged from the hospital,” says Upton.

The special rooms help cover the sensitive treatment portion of STEPS;
Misty Woodard will help with parenting support. “I just come from a place of understanding to kind of try to break some walls down and show them that, you know, people have been in their shoes before and they can recover,” says the recovery coach.

Family education will also play a big role in the unit.

“One is getting the baby through withdrawal, but more is working with the parents about parenting,” says Upton.

The staff is hopeful these 8 new beds will continue to open doors in the fight against the opioid crisis.

“It’s a miracle. Every day this job just shows me more and more how far I have come, and I get to see hope in peoples eyes once they start recovering. I have seen families reunited. it is just a beautiful thing to watch,” says Woodard.

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